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Tribes, Provinces, Emirates 

and States 


Northern Provinces of Nigeria 

Compiled from Official Reports 





Printed by 




The compilation contained in the following pages has been 
made with the object of rendering available to those interested, 
in a small compass, at all events some of the immense stores 
of facts concerning the natives of the Northern Provinces of 
Nigeria assiduously collected by the political staff. This 
information is contained scattered through innumerable reports, 
assessment reports, annual and monthly reports, and official 
letters, etc., which are kept at the Secretariat and the Provincial 
Headquarters, and is not readily accessible, even to those who are 
stationed at Headquarters and are able to command the Secretariat 
tiles. To the political officer they are quite inaccessible as 
a whole. Though a political officer may have the completest 
knowledge of the Province in which he is working, I know by 
experience that it has been in the past extremely difficult for 
him to obtain knowledge of other Provinces. Thus a man may 
work for many years an official life-time even in Sokoto and 
yet know very little of Bassa, Yola, or Bornu, for instance. 
Indeed, his knowledge may very well be restricte4 for many 
years to the affairs connected with the district in which he is 
stationed, and may not extend to those of the Province even. 
To remedy this state of affairs a gazetteer is urgently required, 
and, though it would be presumptuous to use such a term in 
connection with the present work, it is the hope of the compiler 
that the following pages may be useful in the preparation of 
a complete work in the future, while at the same time affording 
a book of reference in which the more salient facts at all events 
may be found. 

Though the work of the political department has been continual, 
painstaking, and up to a point very fruitful in securing a vast 

mass of reliable data, yet, as is inevitable when large and hetero- 
geneous populations have to be studied, and facts gleaned viva 
voce from natives sometimes unwilling to impart information, 
much has been recorded as fact which is incorrect, and many 
omissions of important facts occur. These pages necessarily 
reflect such errors and omissions. Yet, even so, it is hoped that 
the publication of such erroneous information may serve a useful 
purpose by bringing to the notice of some individual who may 
be in possession of the correct knowledge in any particular instance, 
that this or that mistaken impression is accepted as true, and 
lead him to put matters straight. 

It will be seen that much space is devoted to matters connected 
with anthropology rather than administration. Yet it is to 
be borne in mind a close and detailed and completest possible 
knowledge of the habits and customs of the native is of the 
first importance to the European administration. The longer 
we are in the country, the more the rather elementary duties 
of the Government in eliminating disturbances and of securing 
a peaceful state of affairs are completed, the larger loom the 
more important problems of establishing and continuing an 
administration which works with and for, and not against, 
the natural and national evolution of the natives. These can 
be solved only by the help of a complete knowledge of the 
daily life of the individual native. 

It is to be noted that the compilation was stopped in October, 
1916, and that some adjustments of boundaries are likely to 
have taken place since that date. 

So far as it has been possible to do so, the names of 
authorities for the information (where it has not been collected 
personally) have been quoted. At the same time I would 
add that all such authorities are not included, nor would it be 
fair to connect any particular error with one or other of the 

officers named. 

C, L. T. 


Page 7 For '' Major Ley-Graves," read " Mr. J. A. Ley- 

7 For " Captain," read " Major A. E. Churcher." 
32, 8th line from the bottom For " Margi," read 

" Marghi." 

36, 10th line- For " Kibo," read " Kibbo." 
40, llth ,, - For " Bauchi," read " Baushi." 

40, 15th ,, For " Bororo," read " Borroro." 

41, 3rd ,, from the bottom For " Umaishi," read 

" Umaisha." 

45, 5th line For " Kamberi," read " Kamberri." 
45, 17th ,, For " Kontogora," read " Kontagora." 
47, 1st ,, - 

,, 54, 16th ,, Delete quotation marks before " These 
tribes . . ." 

55, 7th line For " Kontogora," read " Kontagora." 

56, 7th ,, from the bottom For " Kontogora," 

read " Kontagora." 
59, 9th line from the bottom For " Andurrer," read 

" Andurrur." 
,, 59, 4th line of footnote For " Kontogora," read 

" Kontagora." 
,, 64, 21st line from the bottom For " a heavy damage," 

read " heavy damages." 

65, llth line For " Kaferetti," read " Kafaretti." 
72, footnote For " Gaandap.," read " Gaanda p. 255" 

79, 2nd line For " Mumye," read " Mumuye." 

80, 17th For " Muslimi," read " Musulmi." 
82, 20th ,, For " titled,"- read " entitled." 

88, footnotef For " north of the Jega," read " north 
of Jega," and for " time of Jihad," read " time 
of the Jihad." 

90, 4th line After " Masu-golmo " delete comma. 
93, 22nd ,, from the bottom For " and or a girl," 

read " and a girl." 

108, 10th line For " artisan," read " artisans." 
110, 5th ,, For " Kerre-Kerre," read " Keri-Keri." 
122, 12th ,, For " seems," read " seem." 
127, 18th ,, For " proportions," read " proportion." 
133, 1st ,, For " Waike," read " Waiki." 
136, llth ,, For " were," read " was." 

139, 5th ,, For " an average of," read " an average 

density of." 

,, 140, 24th line from the bottom For " case," read 
" cases." 

140, 13th line from the bottom For " to the depth," 

read " at a depth." 

149, 5th line For " Munchi," read " Munshi." 
171, llth ,, For " Maigenu," read " Maigemu." 

173, 6th ,, from the bottom For " Muslumi," read 

" Musulmi." 

174, 15th line For " estimation," read " estimate." 
179, 7th ,, Fuka is no longer in Kuta District, but 

in Wushishi Fmirate. 
198, 13th line For "possessed by," read "possessed 

200, 12th line from the bottom For " done with," 

read " done in the case of." 

205, 2nd line from the bottom For " from four to 

six," read " to four or six." 

206, 18th line from the bottom Delete ' The " before 

'" Kamuku." 

210, 20th liiv from the bottom For " his emblems," 
read " the emblems." 

>age 219, 16th line from the bottom For " th'oughout," 

read " throughout." 
266, 8th line from the bottom For " they are given," 

read " they are each given." 
271, 19th line from the bottom Add a comma after 

' Yola Province." 
273, 8th line from the bottom For " ogwn," read 

" gown." 
,, 274, last line For " Diginti," read " Diginte." 

296, 5th ,, For " pefix," read "prefix." 
,, 298, 5th ,., from the bottom For ' Katsena Ala! 

read " Katsena Allah." 

320, 5th line For " Edigi," read " Edegi." 
,, 328, 15th -For " male uncles and aunts," read 

" uncles and aunts on the male side." 
355 For " Mr. F. Daniels," read " Mr. F. Daniel." 
359, 3rd line from the bottom Delete comma after 

" Chief." 

365, 2nd line For " Wurio," read " Wurrio." 
,, 368, 3rd ,, -For " Pateji," read " Pategi." 
,, 368 For "Mr. J. C. D. Clarke," read "Mr. J. C. O. 


377, footnote Delete " in asterisks." 
,, 379, 20th line For " Shongo," read " Shango." 
386, 20th ,, from the bottom Delete comma aft 

" court." 

390, 15th line For " Lafiaji," read " Lafiagi." 
396, 10th ,, from the bottom For "assume. Next,' 

read " assume that next." 
398, 19th line For " made up, to the," read " made, 

up to the." 
,, 399, 6th line from the bottom For "as to who," rea 

"as to say who." 
,, 401, 2nd half of page Insert asterisk to which note 


404, 4th line For " Kitiyen," read " Kitijen." 
,, 404, 7th ,, For " Hyskos," read " Hyksos." 

417, 5th ,, from the bottom Delete quotation marks. 
,, 418, 17th ,, from the bottom For " forty," read 

" thirty " years. 
418, 21st line from the bottom For " Wurkun," read 

" Wurkum." 

,, 419, Genealogical table For ' 1793," read " 1803." 
420, 5th line For " Kerre-Kerre," read " Keri-Keri." 
431, No. 98 Insert " of " after population. 
435, 2nd line from the bottom For " Margi," rez 

" Marghi." 

438, I0th line After " Abubakr Gerbai " insert comma. 
448, 2nd ,, After "they," insert "(the Filane)." 
,, 482, Genealogy Delete " Emir of." 

495, 22nd line For " Kishera," read " Kishira." 
498, 12th ,, For " have," read " has." 
500, 18th ,, from the bottom Delete " Province." 
502, 3rd ,, For " Kassan Chikki," read " Kasan 


,, ' 508 For " Vice-Captain," read " vide Captain." 
,, ' 529, 6th line from the bottom For " cochlospernum," 

" cochlospermum." 
,, 544, 21st line For " rama (Fibrean)," read " ramma 

(Fibre, an)." 
564, 18th line from the bottom For " Verre," read 

" Vere." 

Tribal Index, Badawa For page " 177," read " 171." 
Baduku For page 291, read 297. 
Domawa For page 89, read 88. 
Yakoko For " Mamuve," read " Mumuye." 


The Ade tribe inhabit Ikinri and its neighbourhood in the 
Kabba Division of Kabba Province. 



Mr. H. Cadman Mr. D. Cat or 

Mr. C. Migeod Mr. W. Morgan 

Captain H. L. Norton-Traill Commander B. M. Waters 

The Afao or Afu pagans are to be found in the Nassarawa, 
Kem and Abuja Emirates in Nassarawa Province. Their total 
population reaches a figure of 9,575, the large majority of 
whom reside in Nassarawa Emirate. 

It has been suggested that they came originally from south 
of the Benue, where they inhabited a district between the Munshi 
and Igara, but at all events they were in occupation of the 
country between the Afao hills north-east of Loko and Kurudu, 
south of Nassarawa, by the middle of the eighteenth century, 
when some left Kurudu to escape war with Sarkin Kwotto, 
and it is probable that they had been there for very many genera- 
tions. At a distant date they founded the town of Udeni at 
the foot of the Afao hills, and at the end of the nineteenth or 
beginning of the twentieth century founded a second Udeni 
on the banks of the Benue just above Loko, whither they had 
repaired in consequence of a dispute as to succession. This 
new Udeni was under the suzerainty of the Jukon (Wukari) 
and it is probable that the whole Afao tribe acknowledged the 
Jukon sway and had come thither for settlement of their dispute. 
Since the advent of the British they have mostly returned to 
the aforementioned neighbourhood, but it is possible that a 
portion of the tribe migrated down the river to Budon, where 
they are now known as Kakanda. Their tribal marks are identical. 
These consist of two deep cuts on each side of the face from the 
temples to the corners of the mouth ; which has latterly been 


modified to two deep cuts from the bridge of the nose to the 
cheeks, the side marks having been abandoned. 

They are a good-looking race, but of poor physique, dirty 
and drunken. They are fishermen and farmers ; weaving being 
their only industry. 

The Chief is assisted by a Council of Elders, who sit on judicial 
cases, and recourse may be had to sasswood ordeal. Murder 
is punished by death, but not necessarily that of the criminal 
himself : it is more frequently arranged on a principle of exchange . 
In a case of manslaughter the bereaved family are apportioned 
a share of the blood-money, the remainder going to the Court. 
Theft is punished by flogging and a fine. Rape is punished by 
flogging and a fine. An adulterer is fined, but if the woman 
runs away with him the couple are pursued and the woman 
recovered ; if the occurrence is frequent the co-respondent 
is obliged to supply the aggrieved husband with a woman of 
his own family in exchange. 

Not only each man, but each woman, has a right to take up 
such unoccupied lands within the village boundaries as she 
can farm ; but sons must work on their father's farms. 

Marriage is arranged by exchange, a groom giving his sister 
or some other blood-relation in exchange for his bride. Should 
a woman leave her husband the woman for whom she was origin- 
ally exchanged must do likewise, but if the one has children 
and the other has not desertion is not permitted. Should a 
man be without suitable female relations he may be allowed 
to marry, but in that case his offspring belong to his wife's 
family. There is no limit to the number of wives, five or six 
being quite common. 

On the birth of an infant it is taken to the temple, where a 
ceremony is held, which includes much beer drinking. 

Circumcision is practised. 

No burial ceremony is held for an ordinary individual, only 
for old men, on which occasions guns are freely fired. The 
body is buried twenty-four hours after death and is laid at full 
length in a tunnel approached through a round hole. A wake is 
held for a Chief, and is one of the few occasions when gia is 

Inheritance is to the eldest brother and, failing him, to the 
eldest son. The heir must pay off the debts of the deceased. 
The eldest son inherits everything, but property may only be 
parted with for an important family purpose, such as ransoming 
one of its members, and only with the permission of the Juju. 

The deity " Boka " has the power of curing disease, and 
to him many sacrifices are made. The Sarki has a special shrine. 



AUTHORITY : Mr. S. Grier. 

The Afawa, sometimes called Faawa or Paawa, are located 
in the north of Bauchi province ; numbering 1,010 in Bauchi, 
goo in Ningi and 8,100 in the neighbouring state of Ari, where 
they form four-fifths of the population, and where an Afawa Chief 
rules. The tribe has therefore a total population of 10,010. 

They always lived in that neighbourhood, that is to say, 
in the plains on the banks of the river Bunga ; Zidda (Ganjua 
district) being their principal town. They were, however, 
driven into the Ningi hills by pressure from Bauchi, where they 
made their headquarters in the fertile lands of Ari. The average 
annual yield of corn is said to be 2,400 pounds of grain per 

The towns are compact, encircled by walls, and situated 
at the base of the hills. Their tribal marks consist of six short 
lines above the eye, and eight horizontal lines from a level with 
the eye to the chin. 

The customs of the Afawa bear similarity to those of their 
neighbours the Ningi ; indeed they show considerable affinity 
to the neighbouring Kudawa, Butawa, Ningawa, and particularly 
Warjawa tribes. 

They speak the same language, which is rapidly being replaced 
by Haussa, and their religion* is identical, though Muham- 
madanism is rapidly increasing. The worship of ancestors 
is at its base and the founder of the tribe, " Wulo-Wula," who 
lived at Zidda " from the beginning," is the tribal god, who 
protects and avenges all his people. He appears in visible form 
every fourth year when boys of seven and upwards are circumcised. 
These youths may not return to their homes for two months, 
during which time the men carry them food to the sacred grove. 
A great festival is celebrated in conclusion. 

Other gods represent important members of the Afawa or 
other tribes, and each family worships its own founder. 

Not even ' Wulo-Wula " has power to cause rain, but it 
can be induced to fall if the elders pour the blood of chickens 
into the sacred grove, while the women make a circuit of the 
bush outside the town beating drums. Before the procession 
returns home rain falls. 

Certain animals are tabu to certain families, as it is believed 
that the latter can assume the shape of the former ; a power 
given generally to certain individuals who commonly take the 
form of an elephant. 

* Compare Ningawa. 


The duties of priest and chief were probably combine( 

The heads of families or clans settled all disputes, oath being 
taken on the family god. Recourse might be had to a form 
of ordeal, when the accused lay down and cactus juice was 
squeezed into his eye. If it watered freely little harm was done, 
but if the poison took effect he lost both his case and his eye. 
The accuser and accused staked one or more women on the 

vSuitors obtained wives in exchange for a' very small dower, 
and the women kept little faith with them ; but all the children 
belonged to the first husband whoever might be their father. 

A man was buried on his right, a woman on her left, side, 
the knees being drawn up and the head resting on the hand. 
In the case of an influential man a wake was held a short interval 
after his death. 


The Agalawa are situated in the Katsina Emirate, 
they live in densely crowded villages. 

They are great traders and do a large business in carrying 
grain, keeping large herds of donkeys for the purpose. 

By race they are a mixture of Asbenawa and pagan Haussa. 


AUTHORITY : Capt. F. Byng-Hall. 

Agatu is the name of a District in Bassa province on the 
southern bank of the Benue, some thirty square miles in size, 
and this name has been applied to its inhabitants, who were 
originally Idoma and are now a medley of peoples, numbering 
some 13,991, the women exceeding the men in a proportion 
of three to two. They extend eastwards into Muri Province, 
where a population of 441 are included in the Abinsi-Kwoto 
group, and to the northern bank of the Benue in Nassarawa 
Emirate, where they number 1,500. 

In Bassa Province the principal groups are : 

I. Igara, part of a migration from Ibi, who were driven 
by the Jiku to Idah, Okpoto country, and to the western part 
of the Agatu District, where they intermarried with the Idoma. 
Both languages are now spoken. They occupy territory 


east of Bagana, with headquarters at Amageddi, where they 
suffered heavily by slave-raids from Nassarawa, also an outpost 
at Peli to the south-east. They were under the Ata of Ida. 

2. Adagoji were a powerful race who were invited by the 
Ata of Ida to leave their habitat in the south of Kabba Province 
to settle in his country and repel the Haussa raiders. Their 
Chief was given the title of Onu Adagoji, together with lands 
for his people. They intermarried with the Idoma and gradually 
adopted the Idoma language the Igara language being also 
generally understood. Their descendants now occupy territory 
to the south of Amageddi. 

3. Epe were driven from Nassarawa by the Haussa and 
were given land by the Adagoji in the northern part of the 
territory. The women are hard workers and are sought in 
marriage by the Adagoji as well as by their own tribesmen. 

4. Adiku occupied Egeide near Othukpo in Southern Nigeria 
and intermarried with the Okpoto and Idoma. The Ata of 
Ida granted them a title and land to the south of Adagoji. They 
were routed by the Haussa and took refuge near Ankpa, returning 
to the Adagoji District on the advent of the British at Akwacha. 
When the title was granted by the Ata of Ida a dispute arose 
between two brothers as to which of them should hold it, and 
the disappointed man led his followers to the river Opoku, where 
he settled, assuming the title of Onu Opoku. 

Both sections speak Idoma, but those in Adagoji understand 
Igara also, and bear little resemblance to the Opoku branch. 

5. Egba were driven from their country by the Munshis 
and settled in the Adiku country, where they were raided both 
by the Adiku and Haussa. They maintained their independence, 
but are a small unit occupying a wedge of land round Jemtelli 
between the Adagoji and Adiku. They intermarried with the 
Idoma and speak the Idoma language. 

6. Oji were driven from their country near Ibi by the Jiku 
to Munshi territory and thence to Oji on the river Opoku, which 
originally belonged to the Adiku Opoku. They intermarried 
with the Idoma, but have several Munshi characteristics. They 
claim the title of Onoji, but their right to it is doubtful, as they 
do not appear to have recognised any external authority. 

7. Obah took refuge from Haussa slave-raids in Nassarawa 
in territory to the west of Oji, where they intermarried with 
the Adoka Southern Idoma. They are related to the Epe. 
The title is Onu Obah. 

8. Bassa-Komo are the latest refugees from Nassarawa and 
occupy the banks of the Benue opposite Loko. They intermarried 
with the Adagoji, Peli and Idoma tribes and speak Idoma. The 
Chief of the Adagoji states that it was his father who gave them 
permission to settle, 

9. Ogbadoma. 


10. Ikobi. 

11. Abogwe. 

They practise riverain and agricultural pursuits. The men 
fight with bows and poisoned arrows. 

Each adult has his or her own house, but boys live together 
(showing Bantu origin ?) whilst girls remain with their mothers. 
A suitor works for eight years on the farm of the father of his 
bride-elect, and makes certain small presents when the time 
for consummation of the marriage has come. 

Women wear one cloth, hanging from the breast, the men 
one cloth, an end of which is thrown over the shoulder. 

They are pagans, the deities being sometimes represented 
by images. They have a profound belief in witchcraft. 


The tribes Aiere, Ogidi and Owe have been grouped toget] 
with the Bunu and Aworo as ' Kabba tribes," as it is said 
they all spring from one family and all speak a dialect of Yoruba. 

The Aiere are almost extinct, they inhabit the town of Aiere, 
near Kabba, and nothing specific has been recorded concerning 

The Owe live in and around Kabba. 

The Ogidi inhabit the town and immediate neighbourhood 
of Ogidi to the south-west of Kabba. 

The Aworo and Bunu have been treated separately, but 
it appears that the Bunu owned suzerainty over all these tribes, 
that is to say over all those who bore vertical face-markings from 
Ogidi in the south as far as Ike in the north. 

Under the heading ' Kabba tribes " it has been recorded 
that they are a peace-loving folk, whose principal occupation 
is agriculture. 

Immediately prior to the sowing of guinea-corn no one may 
leave his hut from sunset on one day to sunrise on the third 
day. The headmen meanwhile gather on the hill and to the 
accompaniment of howling and drumming sacrifice a black goat. 

The women weave particularly good cloth. 
The arms are flintlocks and poisoned arrows. 


The Aike, numbering some 275 persons, have been notified 
from Lafia Emirate, Nassarawa Province. 



AUTHORITY : Mr. E. G. M. Dupigny. 

There are about five hundred Ajawa in the Bauchi Emirate 
and others over the Kano boundary near Fagam. 

They are akin to their neighbours the Warjawa,* if not 
identical in origin with them. Formerly they lived on the hill- 
tops, but are now descending to the plains. They live on the 
products of their farms, i.e., corn and beans, and until recently 
knew no currency but goats. 

They eat the flesh, of dogs, and wear but scanty clothing. 

They are pagans and their beliefs comprise the worship of 
certain trees, particularly the Wakiri and Masoyi. 


AUTHORITY : Major Ley-Graves. 

The Akoko inhabit a large area in the south-west of Ka'bba 
Province, where they have a population of some 30,134. There 
are also between 6,000 and 7,000 (or possibly even 16,000) in the 
Kukuruku District, where they belong to the Bungari family, 
the origin of the extra 10,000 Kukuruku being uncertain. 

The name Akoko was given to them by the Filane, and it 
is doubtful whether they are Yoruba, speaking a dialect of 
Yoruba, or whether they are of Beni extraction. 

Flint-locks, poisoned arrows, hatchets, spears and clubs 
are their habitual weapons. 

They are good farmers and produce a great deal of palm-oil ; 
the women make excellent cloth. 

They are a pagan people. 

They are ruled by an hereditary tribal chief. 

Marriage between women is practised-)- with a view to raising 
children for the profit of the richer woman or " husband." She 
pays a fee to male visitors that they may have connection with 
her young wives. 

A widow wears a loin-cloth woven from the bark of a tree 
during the period of her mourning. 

* Themselves allied to the Afawa, Butawa, Kudawa and Ningawa. 
t Vide Nupe, Ekiti and Yagba. 



AUTHORITY: Mr. S. E. M. Stobart. 

The Anaguta are a group of pagans occupying an area of 
forty-eight square miles, with a population of 2,710 in the town 
of Naraguta in Bauchi Province, in addition to which they occupy 
a small town called Gwosh in the Bauchi Emirate. 

Their origin is not definitely known, but it is believed that 
they came from beyond the Jarawa hills ; they have intermarried 
with their hill Jarawa (Foburawa sept) neighbours at Jos, who 
came thither in the early part of the nineteenth century, and 
with the Burrum. 

Their language is distinct, but they all speak Jarawa and 
wear the Jarawa tribal and tattoo markings. 

Until recently the men were clothed in skins, but now the 
Haussa gown is being adopted. The women wear bunches of 
leaves, one in front and one behind. 

Boys are circumcised at the age of seven. 

The recognised dower given for a Burrum woman is a horse. 
Their marital relationships are promiscuous. 

The dead are buried in the bush in a recumbent position, 
the face having first been covered with cloth. In token of 
mourning the family of the deceased shave their heads. 

Religious rites are performed amongst the rocks in the open. 

The district in which they live is fertile and is watered by 
the Delimi river. 

Agriculture is the principal occupation, together with smelting 
and smithying. 



Major F. Edgar. Mr. H. M. Frewen. 

Mr. H. S. W. Edwardes. Lieut. -Col. H. D. Foulkes. 

The Angas live in the extreme south of Bauchi Province 
in the Pankshin District of the Hill Division, and at the foot 
of the Bauchi plateau in the watershed of the Wase River, where 
the plain Angas have a population of some 13,473, distributed 
over an area of 290 square miles. 

The population may be roughly assessed at some 51,000, 
distributed as follows : Plain and Hill, 47,000 ; Goshendutsi, 
170 ; Northern Hill, 2,530 ; Dugup, Kanam, 910 ; the inhabitants 
of the plains numbering somewhat more than those of the hills. 
This is exclusive of the Tal, who are a tribe of Angas with a 
population of 12,200, but are now called Tal after the district 


they inhabit and amongst whom are some Ankwe they include 
a clan named Miri, which has a population of 3,955, and the 
Dollong or Pe, a district inhabited by some 1,600 persons, some 
860 of Angas, the rest of Yergum descent. Though now divided 
into two distinct groups (the Hill and Plain Angas), they were 
originally one, and were probably themselves a portion of a 
wider distribution. 

They say that they came from Koropan (Kordofan ?) 
to Bornu, thence to Yam, where they probably remained 
tor centuries. The ruins of Angas houses are still to be seen 
in that place, for the stone used in their construction is of course 

To this day the Angas pagan invariably invokes the name 
of 'Yam" when sowing his crops, i.e., " Dawa, I sow thee 
Yam." Also all Angas pagans are buried in a sitting position 
with the face towards Yam. On leaving Yam they journeyed 
to Jaka, to Baksala, and so to Suwa. There they divided into 
three parties. One, led by a priest, went to Gyangyan, choosing 
lor settlement a spot close to where the fast-flowing Wase river 
plunges down a superb fall into a deep gorge some eight hundred 
feet below. They took with them the Wari, a religious emblem. 

The second party went to Kabwir, taking with them ' the 
spear " ; whilst the third party took ' the seed of dawa " and 
settled at Per (Haussaised as Ampier). 

All the chiefs were religious as well as secular heads. 

The Sura and the tribes to their south, i.e., the Dollong 
(an off-shoot of the Yergum), who are called after the District 
they inhabit ' Dollong " or ' Pe," together with some Angas, 
Montol, Yergum and Ankwe have many points of resemblance. 
It is possible that the Dimmuk and Mirriam, Mikiet, Larr and 
Larrdang are also of the same stock. 

With the exception of the Ankwe the language of these 
peoples is the same, though the dialectal differences are great. 
Though the Ankwe cannot understand the Angas, the latter 
state that they can catch the meaning of several Ankwe words. 

Their tribal mark, one long stripe down each side of the 
face from the extremity of the eye, or even above the temple, 
to the chin, is similar to that worn by some of the Dollong, 
Tal, and Montol though the latter has been recently modified, 
the Tal generally having no marks. 

The Northern Hill Angas also have no marks, those at Goshen- 
dutsi have a double line as above, and those at Dugup in Kanam 
(population 910) have the same as the Burumawa A group, 
and no ear-holes, whilst a few Kabwir people have some dozen 
lines on each side of the face from temple to chin, which are 
the Kanuri markings. 


Though invariably known under the name of Angas the 
people say that this appellation was given to them by the Filane 
on account of their truculency. Another interpretation is An-gas 
=single mark. They call themselves Kerang, which, in their 
own language, signifies " man." Untravelled and very sus- 
picious, the Angas have come into little contact with other peoples, 
nor will the Plain Angas adventure himself even among his 
brethren of the hills. About three hundred years ago, however, 
there was an infusion of fresh blood amongst them : a settle- 
ment of pagan Gobirawa, presently followed by Beri-beri 
immigrants, established themselves in the midst of the Angas. 
The new comers adopted Angas customs, and, intermarrying, 
were speedily absorbed. The first Filane to invade them was 
the Madaiki Hassan of Wase, whose onslaught they repelled. 
He, however, obtained the support of Yakubu, first Emir of 
Bauchi, and, on hearing that their neighbours, the Burumawa, 
had been routed by Yakubu, the Angas sent to proffer their 
allegiance and thenceforward paid tribute to Bauchi. On Yakubu's 
death his son, Ibrahimu, demanded more tribute than the 
Angas were willing to give and came in force to collect it. The 
Angas entrenched themselves on the banks of the river, but 
the Filane broke down their defences with pick-axes and burnt 
Per. Some of the Angas fled to Ampam, others to Pangan, 
others to Dollong, but the greater number remained in their 
own country and submitted to the Filane. 

In 1907, therefore, when they first came under effective 
British control, little had occurred to modify their traditional 

The men were clothed only in tanned goat's or sheep's 
skins, half the skin being suspended from the waist in front, half 
behind, often marked with geometric figures in dark blue. Their 
breasts, backs and necks were decorated by lines burnt into 
the skin, or by scars picked out from the flesh by a hook ; their 
heads were shaved, but for fantastic tufts of hair or elaborate 
plaits, affected by the younger men -iheir persons festooned 
by beads and rings and bracelets of iron and their front teeth 
were in some cases filed so as to form a notch between them. 
This costume has varied little, and the women also wear the 
traditional garb, stalks of a bean-like creeper, which depend 
back and front from a girdle of grass. The married women 
shave their heads. Both sexes are strongly made, with large 

All Were warriors, finding their principal recreation in fights 
with neighbouring townships. Their arms consisted of knives, 
spears, bows and arrows, the effective range of which latter 
was some 120 yards. The tips were invariably poisoned, stro- 
phanthus being grown for this purpose. Shields of cowhide 


were used for defensive armour, and it is stated that clubs used 
to be thrown. 

The Angas are intelligent by nature, but with advancing 
years the men's brains become fogged with drink. They are 
inveterate smokers, and once the harvest is gathered in the 
Plain Angas do little else but tell long stories over their pipes 
and beer (gia) . The Hill Angas, however, display a certain industry 
in making earthenware bowls for pipes, and in smelting iron 
from the red sandstone. 

The Plain Angas weave strong cloth, about nine inches 
wide, and the men make good haversacks from the bark of 
the baobab. They also make pipes of fine black clay, and of 
wood ; whilst the women fashion ovoid-shaped waterpots with 
narrow necks and cup-shaped mouths. 

Both sections are essentially agriculturists. On the mountain 
sides they will build up terraces of rpck three feet in height to 
gain room in which to plant even one row of guinea-corn. Where 
the ground is hilly the soil is formed into ridges and the furrows 
are banked across at distances varying between two to twenty 
feet to form troughs to hold the rain. The crops are grown on 
the ridges. When the crop is ripe the whole family set to work, 
and, reaching up as high as they can, break each stalk so that 
the ear hangs down. A few days later these are cut and placed 
in granaries, some three feet in diameter, the floor having first 
been covered with dorowa leaves. Sometimes one granary is 
enclosed within another, like a Chinese box, when gero is placed 
in the outer one and corn in the inner one. The stalks 
are left to stand through the dry season, with the exception 
of a small percentage which -is used as fuel. They are then 
cut down and burnt on the ground. Among the natural 
products, and one peculiar to the mountain heights of this land, 
is the Itiri tree, from which oil is obtained for culinary purposes. 

The Angas cultivate tobacco, every man growing a plot in 
the ground which surrounds his compound ; each householder 
has enough land in the immediate neighbourhood of his dwelling 
for a small farm. 

The compound consists of a series of huts, sometimes as 
many as four hundred in number, placed a foot or so apart and 
generally in a circle, the spaces between being filled in with mud 
and stones. Thus a wall is formed, through which there is but 
one entrance. The huts are built of mud and the domed-shaped 
roofs (unsupported) are also of mud covered with thatch. Most 
of the walls, and especially the inside ones, are covered with 
a good surface glaze. The entrances, eighteen inches above 
the ground, are circular openings some two and a half feet in 
diameter the huts themselves being only nine feet in width. 
It is usual for each woman to have three huts for her own use, 
and sometimes a fourth where she works making pots, mats, 


etc. They are used as store-room, cook-house and sleeping-room. 
In the latter, raised mud-beds with spaces beneath them, are 
often to be found. Sometimes a room has a mud-screen stretching 
half way across, which is frequently ornamented with lines and 
curves. Built against the walls are pockets of mud which serve as 
shelves, and spiral horns of mud that act as pegs project from 
the walls. In the more important compounds there is an outer 
yard, where the dependents gather, and in that of the Sarki 
is a large low hut where he keeps such trophies as buffalo horns 
and the skulls of men he has eaten. 

Though both sections of the tribe were cannibals, it was found 
at the time of the British occupation that the Plain Angas had 
practically abandoned the practice. It was their habit to eat 
enemies slain in war, and criminals of their own tribe who suffered 
the punishment of death. Women, however, were never eaten, 
nor were they allowed to partake of these repasts. In fact the 
flesh was cooked and eaten in some private place, and almost 
invariably in a sacred grove dedicated to the god Gwon. 

Though his attributes are now being transferred to the god 
Kum Tau, Gwon is essentially the god -of Justice, to whom 
questions of right and wrong are referred, and who punishes 
misdeeds. When misfortune troubles the community, such 
as an unusually bad harvest, Gwon is called upon to discover who 
is the cause and to avenge the wrong. The Sarki summons his 
people to the forest jungle where the temple is situated, over 
which he, as Chief, has sole charge, no man being permitted 
to enter it except by his permission and in his company. The 
temple itself is no more than a low mud hut, enclosed by a cir- 
cular stone wall some two feet high. Within this space the 
Sarki sits while every man, one by one, files past him to the 
temple, to partake there of food prepared by the Sarki from 
flour contributed by each householder. The guilty man, through 
whom evil has fallen on the community, is said to be overtaken 
in the night by a terrible malady his belly swelling until it 
bursts and by his death good fortune is restored. The pro- 
cedure is sometimes varied. The Sarki cuts the throat of a 
fowl and each man dips his finger in the blood, which he then 
sucks off. The result is always the same. It is said that should 
the Sarki put poison in the preparation he dies himself. 

Each man erects a small temple to Gwon near his own house, 
and in the case of private quarrels goes there with the disputant 
to make oath, in the presence of some worthy man who acts as 
priest and kills and prepares the body of a fowl, which is eaten 
when the oath is made. No man dare tell a lie in the temple 
of Gwon lest death overtake him. An oath is, however, always 
considered a sacred thing, and if a man eats some earth at the 
time he makes a vow he believes that the earth will eat him 
should he break it. 


In the case of a dispute the principals will often agree to some 
such method of arbitrament as the following : Each party goes 
into the bush with a net and sets it for game the first who 
catches anything, a hare excepted, is acknowledged to be in 
the right. 

Besides Gwon the Angas believe in two other gods Nen and 
Kum.* Nen is the great god who lives in the sky, but is altogether 
apart from men. They consider it therefore of no use to make 
sacrifice to him, for he has no concern with this life, nor do they 
believe in an after existence. They are perfectly willing to 
accept the Muhammadan name of Allah and use it alternatively 
with the original one of Nen. 

Kum is the household god, to whom an .upright slab of stone 
is erected in the entrance to each compound. The first-fruits 
of each crop are given to Kum, and on special occasions offerings 
of food, or a fowl, are placed before him. In each case the man 
of the house performs these offices, but a sacrifice is prepared 
by the suppliant member of his household. Oaths are made to 
Kum, but always on the pain of death. When a man changes 
his abode he takes his Kum with him, but as it is often impossible 
to remove the slab of stone. Kum is taken in the form of an 
open pot in which a mixture of flour is placed. The custom is 
creeping in of giving each Kum an additional name. The Sarki 
has a special Kum which bears the additional name of Tau, and 
which passes ex-officio to his successor. 

Besides these three gods the Angas believe that there are 
occult influences inherent to everything, whether it be tangible 
like a stone, tree, or hill, or whether it be a farm or locality. 
These spirits are known as Jigwel and may be beneficent or 
inimical. In the former case they are known as Jigwel-het = 
white, in the latter Jig wel-tip= black, but a Jigwel who is " het " 
to one man may be ' tip " to another, and vice versa. There 
is one Jigwel who is Chief over many others and who presides 
over a whole tract of country. The Angas endeavour to pro- 
pitiate the Jigwel ; for instance when a man starts a farm he 
will cut a stick and tie its own leaves to the top usually from 
a Kadainya. He believes that hordes of Jigwel support the 
sky on bamboo poles, for he thinks that a wall-like structure 
is built round the edges of the world and that at its extreme 
boundary the vault of the sky like a vast inverted cup would 
otherwise meet the confines of the earth. 

The principal festival of the year takes place when the corn 
is ready for harvesting. The women of each compound build 
up their ash-heap to a cone some six feet high and fifteen feet 
in diameter, at the apex of which a grass broom is stuck. Every 
hut and bin is sprinkled with beer, and at night the women 

*Vide Ankwc, Mirriam, Montol, Sur? , Ycrgum. The Jukon have a 
god called Gion. 



dance round singing, whilst the men beat drums and blow horns 
till far into the morning. 

The following evening a special religious dance is held, pre- 
sided over by a symbolical figure who stands apart entirely 
concealed in guinea-corn. A sheep is carried round a tree dedicated 
to the god ' Kum," being laid backwards on the ground about 
every two yards, after which it is killed. Both men and women 
dance in inner and outer circles to the sound of drums and horns. 
For the following week some dozen young men from Ampier 
visit one village after another. Some wear coronets of crowned- 
crane feathers, others of grass, whilst all wear small collars 
of bright cloth and scarves that stretch across. the body from 
one shoulder. They also wear elaborate loin-skins which trail 
on the ground behind them ; as well as leg and arm ornaments 
that clash as their wearers dance. The god " Kum " is consulted 
before corn may be sown, the Sarki being the first person to 
sow grain in each village. 

There are no religious medicine men, but there are some who 
declare themselves gifted with the power of divination. These 
men are called Gope. They do not seem to be much consulted, 
and in some towns the ordinary methods of determining on 
what course to adopt is by placing food near an ants' nest. If 
it is eaten the question is answered in the affirmative, if left, 
in the negative. 

The Gope is, however, called in to pronounce on certain 
diseases, and to decide whether an unsound child two years of 
age is fit to live. If the verdict is against it, it is knocked on 
the head and buried in an ordinary manner, i.e., in a circular 
pit some four feet deep. 

The dead are put in feet foremost, and the knees and elbows 
are broken with a club to facilitate the body being thrust into 
a sitting position. A large stone is rolled over the mouth of 
the pit, which is piled up with rocks and earth. 

The Angas believe that their lives are dependent on that of 
some beast or reptile in which resides a counterpart of their own 
' Kurua." They do not, however, spare the life of any animal 
on that account. 

A Plain Angas applies to the mother of his chosen bride 
for her consent to his marriage with her daughter, and having 
obtained it makes a present of beads to the girl and gives " Ken- 
tis " and tobacco to her father. If the latter smokes the tobacco 
his consent is given and the suitor sends him a goat. The groom 
is then free to catch his bride and take her to his home, but 
he returns her immediately to her parents with whom she remains 
for a year. At the end of that time the groom asks her father 
to give her to him and receives permission to catch her, which 
he does in the evening, but before the marriage is consummated 
he sends a gift of gari and a goat to her mother. On the wedding 


day, when the bride goes into her hut, an old woman lights the 
lire for her and puts a pot full of water thereon. She then takes 
the girl's hands and lays them on the pot. On the morning 
after consummation the bride sweeps out the house unaided, 
alter which the women give her household utensils. Her husband 
then provides five goats, four she-goats, and a castrated goat, 
which she takes to her father, leading the latter animal by a 
rope. Her placing the rope in his hands terminates the rites. 

When a boy reaches the age of fourteen or fifteen and a 
girl that of thirteen they are considered marriageable, but before 
that time a girl, who has numerous suitors, chooses her husband 
According to another authority he gives her parents some twenty 
to thirty sheep in instalments, the last being given on the day 
she goes to his house. She then, for the first time, wears a dress, 
consisting of a belt of fibre strings, the strands of which 
hang before and behind. These are intertwined with leaves 
and twigs, the bigger bunches of which are to the back. She 
ornaments herself with strings of beads, and. a few women 
tattoo themselves, but only on the breasts. 

The men despise a woman's intelligence and laugh at the 
idea that she should give her version of facts. She, however, 
does most of the work of the place, both indoor and outdoor. 
She seldom eats with her husband, and never if there is meat 
at the meal. She has, however, complete freedom to leave 
him and to return to her people, the only condition being the 
refunding by her parents of her dower, together with whatever 
increase there would have been in th- flock by births had the 
husband never parted with them. She usually re-marries within 
a few days, when the bridegroom pays the price, but she is 
not allowed to re-marry in the same town. Infidelity is punishable 
by the husband, b'ut to have had a number of husbands is not 
considered a crime. A man has from four to twenty wives, 
but marriage is not permitted between blood-relations. 

A woman names her child within a few days of its birth, 
and' suckles , it for two years. Boys are circumcised at the age 
of four. 

The women take a prominent part in the tribal dances, which 
are held after the garnering of each crop in the court-yards of 
the Sarakuna, but that of the greatest importance after the 
last harvest takes place in a specially built ring of stones, some 
fifteen inches high and thirty yards across. The women dance 
within while the men beat drums and sing outside. 

They appear to be fond of music, the sound of the small 
Sarbanga (drum) is perpetually to be heard, and the children 
jig about in time with it. Most of the tribes have a band of 
instruments made of Sombi (horns) of different sizes, which 
they play all together, and they have more than an elementary 
notion of correct combination. The largest horns are those 


of the bush-cow (A. Kun), which "in the days of their fathers" 
used to be in the countiy, but which have since been driven 
north into the bush south of Bununu and Bogoro. 

There is also another instrument of the nature of a lyre. 
A platform and sounding board is made of twenty-one reeds 
of a species of cane cut into lengths of about eighteen inches 
and tied closely together at each end. The outer coverings of 
the reeds are then split so as to allow the introduction beneath 
them of two transverse sticks which serve the purpose of bridges. 
The split portions resemble the cane of cane-bottomed chairs, 
and act as the strings of the instrument, and to prevent them 
splitting off the stems altogether, the latter are bound at an 
inch from their ends. The length of the strings between the 
bridges is about nine inches. The strings are arranged in groups 
of three, of which the middle one is muffled by being bound round 
with grass, so that the fingers slip off it easily on to the sounding 
strings on either side of it. These are attuned to each other 
so as to give 't-he same note or its octave, the result being in- 
geniously obtained by winding fine grass or thin strips of the 
same cane (A. Gamba), round it, as wire is on the G string of 
a violin. A string, for instance, playing a note an octave lower 
than another, has quite half its length bound, whereas the other 
one may have perhaps a quarter of an inch so treated to get 
the correct note, which is exactly true. At the back, two sticks 
are fixed across, six inches apart, and the space between them is 
covered over by a piece of matting consisting of broad strips 
of the palm leaf, thus forming a hollow space which contains 
a number of the small hard seeds of the Angas tree " Che-che/' 
so that all the time the instrument is being played a not unpleasing 
rattle is heard. The performer holds the harg vertically in front 
of him with the stringed surface away from his person ; the 
two thumbs are behind, while all four fingers of both hands are 
at work on the strings, jerking the instrument at times in order 
to obtain the effect of the rattle. The actual music produced 
is monotonous, the same refrain doing duty over and over again, 
till the iteration becomes tiresome. The Angas name for this 
instrument is " Deandean." 

The use of this musical instrument is not confined to the 
Angas, but is common to many of the tribes of the Bauchi Hills, 
such ias the Kibyen, Hill Jarawa, Sura. Outside this district, 
however, it has not been recorded as found elsewhere in Nigeria, 
though an exactly similar instrument has been found in use 
amongst the tribes of Uganda. The fact that it is tuned in 
octaves is most remaikable, and exceptional among African 
instruments, especially when we consider that it is found ex- 
clusively in the hands of pagans of the most primitive description. 
Did these people discover the interval common to European 
but strange to African music, or did, at some remote period of 


time, some stranger find his way thus far and construct this 
simple harp to remind him of the music of his home ? 

The Government is in the hands of a Chief who is selected 
from the adult members of the royal family by four Sarakuna, 
who form a Council of Elders and who take a prominent part 
in the government. The Sarki must be a man of experience and 
responsible years. The native word " Gwollong " signifies 
both " owner " and " King," for there is no communal property 
and all land is vested in him. His principal functions are : 
(i) to take charge and responsibility for the tribal property, 
a sort of Beit-el-Mal, (2) to preside over and, if occasion 
arises, give the casting vote in the Council of Elders, (3) to act 
as Court of Appeal, where his award is final and (4) to take the 
lead in all national religious ceremonies. A Chief's influence 
with his people depends on the general prosperity, as it is the 
sign of his being acceptable to the god Kum Tau. Should mis- 
fortune come to them he is liable to be deposed. 

The Chief is respected for the importance of his function 
but there is no court formality, and he is treated in private 
life with neither more nor less ceremony than any other man 
of authority. He received no fixed tribute, but small presents 
were brought to him annually from the various townships. 
The principal court festivity seems to be on the death of the 
Chief, when a great wake is held. It was formerly the habit 
to bring an enemy's head, representing every neighbouring 
tribe, to the feast. The skulls were also brought out from the 
chief's store-house, and when the revels came to a height these 
were all taken up and thrown from one man to another. The 
same system of Government still endures, i.e., that of a Chief 
assisted by four Sarakuna, but he is now directly responsible 
to the British Resident. The chief of the Hill Angas has been 
made a fourth-grade Chief, under the title of Sarkin Pankshin and 
has jurisdiction over four Yergum Districts. 


A group of 220 Aniakawa have been notified from the Bauchi 
Division of Bauchi Province. 


Capt. U. F. Ruxton Capt. A. E. Churcher. 

The Ankwe are situated to the north and south of the Murchison 
range, in the Pankshin Division of Bauchi Province, in the 


Districts of Chip and Jeppel, where they number some 5,644, 
and in the Ibi Division of Muri Province, where, together with 
the Ngarass and Mirriam, who are scattered amongst them, they 
number 11,652. There are also a few villages some forty or 
fifty miles westwards, in the Assaikio District of the Lafia Emirate 
(Nassarawa Province), thus making a rough total of 18,000. 

This district is fertile and well watered, and the people are 
purely agricultural. 

The area of the Ankwe District is some 1,013 square miles 
and with a population of 11.5 to the square mile. 

Salt from Pankshin, where the Ankwe work it, iron bars 
and cloth are imported. 

The Ankwe are closely allied with the Angas, Sura, Yergum and 
Montol group, and their language is sufficiently similar to 
that of the Angas for the latter to understand a few words, though 
an Ankwe man cannot make out the Angas language. 

In Muri Province the Ankwe tradition is that their ancestor 
came from the Lali section of Montol, together with his wife, 
son and daughter, and that he settled in the country south of 
the Murchison range ; but that when his wife died he left his 
son and daughter and repaired to the top of a hill, where presently 
he fell into a trance. His son and daughter married each other 
and their children set out one day in search of their grandfather. 
They found him covered with grass and with one eye open. 
Their efforts to rouse him were vain, even though they used 
iguana and snake in the attempt, but when at last they brought 
small-pox the old man coughed and arose. He commanded 
them to bury him under the hill of Matan Fada, and told them 
that so long as they and their offspring prayed to him there 
they would multiply and enjoy plenty. That is why Matan 
Fada is the Ankwe place of worship, even though it is situated 
in the Montol territory. 

A more practical version of the same tale attributes their 
origin to ' Pan Larep," a hill abutting on the Murchison range 
to the north of Mata Fada, which they left some two hundred 
years ago under the guidance of their first chief, " Legni," himself 
a son of Mata Fada, after whom the hill has probably been named. 
At some period they must have been conquered by the Jukon, 
with whom they intermarried ; and to this day their method 
of dressing the hair, clothing and appearance is very similar. 

At one time Sarkin Wukari claimed suzerainty over the 
Ankwe, which must have been after he had destroyed the Jukon 
capital of Kororofa." About 1820 the Filane Emir of Bauchi 
captured the neighbouring town of Wase, and at the same time 
conquered some of the Ankwe, though never the Chief's branch. 

The tribe thus became broken up, though they have since 
been re-united under the tribal Chief Sarkin Tshendam ; Tshen- 
dam being their headquarters, whither they removed about 


igoi when their former land was farmed out. Donkwop, a 
third-class Chief, is reigning now. The principal clans in the 
Ankwe Ngarass district (population 5,474), are the Kunum, 
Doka, Pirpum, Larr, Jagnung, Kwonum, Let, Mudurr, and, 
of course, the Ngarass themselves. Ngarass meaning " on the 
stones . ' ' Whilst the Ankwe proper live in walled villages , the Ngarass 
erect small stockades around their dwellings, and the Jagnung 
live in scattered compounds each within its own fortification. 

The Pirpum employ dogs to run down game. They carry 
shields when hunting as a protection from leopards. If a dispute 
arises as to the ownership of the kill the game is split in two down 
the spine ; one party takes the head and neck, the other the skin. 

The Ankwe had an elaborate administrative organisation, 
which included the offices of Chief, of : 

' Kassun " Haussa ' Wombai," who is next in rank to 
the Chief, helps him to settle disputes, and also aids in the election 
of the 'Chief's successor. 

' Kabo " ' Maidaiki," who helps the Wombai and conducts 
the selection of the new Chief. 

' Kanai " " Chiroma," who is the principal of the Chief's 
sons and directs their work. 

' Nuwang " " Galadima," who acts as intermediary 
between the Ankwe and their neighbours the Yergum. 

' Kyon " ' Tukura," who arranges interviews between 
the Sarki and visitors and conducts them to him. He also helps 
in the selection of the new Chief. 

' Nyu " Haussa ' Lifidi," who acts as intermediary 
between the Ankwe and Kunuun. 

" Shundwar " ' Wangia," who lives on the Montol-Ankwe 
boundary and conducts disputants to Tshendam. 

" Kunnawal " Haussa " Sarkin Yaki," military commander. 

1 Dukkum " -Haussa ' Taffida," and 

;< Sunnan " Haussa ( Jarmai," war officers. 

' Nybum " who stays with the Chiroma, just behind the 
Sarki, on march. 

' La Ludass " Haussa ' Dan Kunguni," cook to the 
Chief ; there are five officials who go ahead with him to prepare 
the Chief's house when he is travelling. 

There are five officials responsible for cleaning the Sarki's 
compound and for keeping the wall in good repair, and three 
officials who are responsible for the Chief's farm. Kurwat lives 
in the south of the Ankwe District and conveys messages to 
the Chief from people approaching from that direction. 

Kajen sees that the Chief gets his share of all fish and game 
that are killed. 

Koway is the royal barber and also performs the actual 


Shankwel is the high priest. 

The levy most generally raised was that of Gaisua. 

It was the tribal custom on the death of a Chief for the Maidaiki 
Wombai and Tukura to select his successors from among the 
Chieftains ; they agreed upon two names and elected one of 
these by vote. When this was done the Maidaiki called upon 
all the aspirants to the throne to come forward, which they 
did, each individual presenting the committee, one with five 
slaves, another with two horses, according to his wealth, but 
after a while about a month they clamoured for the election 
to take place, and the whole population were accordingly sum- 
moned to Sheil Hill near Mata Fada, the royal burial ground, 
and the spot where their tsafi Mat Kerrem is kept. While 
the claimants squat in the open the Maidaiki sits on a kob 
skin and proclaims that Mat Kerrem .will that day name their 
Chief, but begs the disappointed not to be angry. He then calls 
upon Tukura to bring forward the candidate Mat Kerrem has 
selected, and the new Chief throws dust on his head and body 
in token of humility. The Maidaiki places a red cap upon his 
head and a big cloth round his loins, and delivers a speech to 
him advising him as to how he should rule, and another speech 
to the people foretelling prosperity under the new King. The 
Maidaiki then vacates his seat, and the Chief, who has meanwhile 
donned a gown, occupies it. The Maidaiki takes off his robe 
and puts a cloth round his loins, and throws dirt on his body 
in token of submission and loyalty to his sovereign, a proceeding 
copied successively by the elective council, the Chieftains, and 
the people. The Maidaiki then conducts the King to his banquet 

The priest kills a horse, two dogs, two large goats and a 
red fowl on the spot where the ceremony has taken place, and 
a carouse takes place to the accompaniment of much drumming. 
Beer is poured into the mouth of the image of Mat Kerrem and 
all remain, eating, drinking and dancing for seven days. 

On his return to the capital the King gives ten sheep to the 
Maidaiki, ten pots of beer to the Chieftains, five goats and five 
pots of beer to his own brothers, and other presents to the 

One year after his accession, when his hair has grown long, 
the Chief returns to the place of his election, the barber " Koway >: 
fashions his hair into a black tuft, into which he inserts a certain 
ivory needle with a disc at one end, which constitutes the coro- 
nation ceremony. The accessories are termed ' Na Sunga," 
a name that is kept jealously secret. Seven days festival ensue 
and complete the accession ceremonies. 

No one may plant their farms before the Sarki plants his, 
and a big festival takes place at harvest time. 


The Chief may not look on the river Benue under pain of 

On the death of the Chief his favourite wife, horse, and 
servant were buried in the same grave with him.* 

An ordinary Chieftain was buried in a sitting position in 
a vault-like grave, to which admission was obtained through a 
small entrance. A gown was added to his goatskin loin cloth. 

The Ankwe believe that the soul can pass into an animal, 
and that all deformed beasts have human souls and would not 
hurt mankind. 

They will not kill either a crowned-crane or a hawk lest 
they should die or become fools, but they regard the feathers 
as giving strength to their wearers and eagerly seek them. 

Those in Chip worship the god r< Gwon," f and eat human 
flesh in his temple. .The women are not present. 

The owl is considered a bird of evil omen,J and should a 
man hear it he believes that it would peck out his eyes that night 
were he, to sleep out in the open. 

Boys are circumcised at the age of seven, when a special 
dance takes place round them, its performers throwing themselves 
on the ground and rolling over and over. 

A man declares his suit by bringing the lady of his choice 
a mat which encloses some cloth. If she favours him she returns 
to them those brought her by other men, and a dowry is agreed 
on, which is paid in large round skins and in goats, commonly 
to a value of 305. When this is paid the bride, completely covered 
by a big cloth, goes to the groom's compound, where his female 
relatives give her a separate hut. Six or eight girls, followed 
by many others, crawl along the ground after her, simulating 
the motions of a snake and concealed beneath a big cloth. When 
they reach the compound they demand a larger dower on behalf 
of their friend, and when they have got all they can extract they 
dance round her house before retiring. 

The bride may not go out or do any ordinary work, and her 
food is brought to her. The marriage is not consummated for 
a period varying from three to six months, and the groom is 
sometimes anticipated by his father. 

The practice of giving tribal marks is now discontinued, 
but formerly the women were marked on their faces, backs, 
necks, chests and stomachs, and men on their faces, necks and 
chests a ladder-line down the centre of the forehead being 
a feature. 

The top and bottom front teeth are still filed. 

The use of bows and arrows were unknown to them as late 

* This is also a Jukon custom. 

f See Angas. The Jukon have a god called Gion. 

Nupe and Yoruba. 


as the middle of the nineteenth century and spears 
tribal weapon. 



Mr. P. A. Benton. Mr. G. S. Lethem. 

Mr. G. J. F. Tomlinson. 

There is a considerable colony of Tripolitan Arabs at Kano, 
and a few individuals of this race are to be found in various 
of the trading centres such as Sokoto, Katsena, Zaria, etc. They 
are all traders. 

In Bornu there exists a large section of pastoral Arabs known 
as the Shuwa, who have long been settled in the Chad neighbour- 
hood, and whose origin is from the East. Their name is probably 
derived from the Abyssinian " Sha," or " Shoa," meaning 
pastoral,* and is used to differentiate them from other Arabs, 
such as the Jellaba from the Nile vicinage and the Wassili from 
North Africa. It is to the Shuwa that the following remarks 
apply. While claiming an eastern origin, and in certain cases 
direct descent from the Prophet, the Shuwa were known to 
be in occupation of Dar-Fur and Wadai as early as 1400 A.D. 
Whilst some of their descendants still inhabit those regions, 
others have gradually migrated westwards to the Chad basin, 
four clans arriving in what is now British Bornu early in the 
seventeenth century. These, however, the Joama, Maiyin, 
Saraje, Bakariye and Ezubio, intermarried with the natives 
of the district, and are now more or less merged with the Kanuri, 
being subject to the same administration having no separate 
Sheikhs of their own and in many cases speaking tittle or no 
Arabic. They are to be found to the south and west of Maiduguri 
in its near neighbourhood. Offshoots of these are to be found 
in North- West Bornu, Katagum and Kano, where they migrated 
circ. 1700 A.D., but they, too, have become merged with the 
nomad Filane and others amongst whom they settled. The 
next arrivals came to Bornu in response to the invitation of 
Sheikh Mohamet al Amin al Kanemy, circ. 1809 A.D., to assist 
him with their light cavalry in clearing the country of the invading 
Filane forces. They were given in return lands now known 
as Ngomati lying south-east of Chad, between it and Maiduguri, 
where the majority still reside, and in addition were granted 
independence of Kanuri control, but, to meet the protest of 
the former Kanuri occupants of these lands, the Shuwa tenure 

*Mr. H. R. Palmer. 


was made conditional on their paying a custom of one ram and 
one bowl of butter per village per annum to the ejected residents. 
The Shuwa Sheikhs exerted great influence at the Bornu court 
until the year 1892 A.D. when, on the arrival of Rabeh, they 
espoused his cause en bloc, and with him suffered defeat at 
the hands of the French, losses from which they have not yet 
wholly recovered. 

Both under the Kanembu Shehus and under Rabeh the 
Shuwa were under the control of their own Sheikhs. In the 
time of Al Kanemy they were represented at the court of Kukawa 
.by three Arabs who held the rank of ' Kogena "=councillor, 
and acted as " Chima " (equivalent to the Haussa ' Kofa " 
or " Ajia ") for the clans under their control. This office was 
never held by slaves. In the same way under Rabeh the Shuwa 
were grouped under their own Lawans, who again were subordinate 
to Ajias in Dikoa, the seat of Rabeh's Court. 

After his fall the Sheikhs, each one independent of the other 
and recognising no seniority amongst themselves, were ad- 
ministered centrally by the Shehu of Bornu, who deputed a 
Kachella (a slave) to deal with them individually on questions 
of routine and taxation. The tribesmen, even when living 
in a village of mixed nationalities, appointed a headman of 
their own who, in cases of dispute, appealed to his own Sheikh. 
This system has been so far modified that the Shuwa are now 
under the district heads of their place of residence, though the 
Sheikhs retain their control by means of an agent in each district 
inhabited by any section of the tribe. The office of Sheikh 
is hereditary within certain families and the appointment is 
made by the Shehu of Bornu in accordance with the wishes 
of the tribe. The Shuwa pay Jangali = is. 6d. per head on 
cattle, of which they own some 85,000, and id. on sheep and 
goats, which number some 50,000. An income tax has more 
recently been assessed on settled farms. The land is for the 
most part rich, yielding double crops, millet in the wet season 
and berbere or masakwa in the dry season it is tilled by slaves 
who average rather more than a tenth of the total population. 
The excellence of the irrigation farms is remarkable. 

Horses are bred for the market, the Shuwa retaining mares only 
for their personal use. Cattle are frequently handed over to 
Filane herdsmen. 

The Shuwa excel as blacksmiths and leather workers. 

There are some villages in the dry season pastures in Chad 
where the inhabitants are able to remain all the year round, 
though the stock is sent away in the wet season, but for the 
most part the villages, though recognised as permanent head- 
quarters, are deserted by all but a few slaves, who remain as 
caretakers when water becomes scarce towards the end of December, 
the owners returning about the middle of July. This interval 


they spend in a definite dry season pasture, where the village 
is reconstructed as described below, with the exception that 
the inner room only is erected, the slaves putting up small grass 
shelters for themselves and the stock remaining in the open. 
The characteristic features of the villages are the absence of 
fenced compounds, the almost complete absence of trees, and 
the great size of the round buildings or turn-turns which are 
often from thirty to forty feet in diameter and from ten to fifteen 
feet in height. These are constructed with a framework of 
wood covered over with mats and supported in the centre by 
one or more tree-trunks, the whole being roofed over with stalks 
of guinea-corn and millet. Each of these contains an inner 
room of about ten by six by -five feet, made of mats and skins 
laid over a light framework of wood and raised off the ground, 
which serves the family as bed and store-room, while the outer 
room is both stable, byre, barn and slaves' quarters. Even 
in the not very common event of a man having more than one 
wife a single house generally suffices for the whole family. The 
houses are usually constructed in a circle round a large open 
space, the intervals between them being filled by a low fence 
of thorn-bush. The open ground in the middle of the village 
often contains a second zariba, where the live-stock are penned 
at night in the dry season. In the localities, however, where 
the soil is a heavy black clay a biting fly (not tsetse), is prevalent 
in the rainy season and then the cattle are kept in the turn- 
turns by day and are let out to graze by night. 

As may be imagined the villages are very dirty, like vast 

Generally speaking, the Shuwa are slight in figure, aquiline 
in feature and of light complexion, but a number of persons 
of dark colouring and negroid appearance are to be found amongst 
them. Probably these are the descendants of slaves, for children 
born of slaves are themselves free. The women plait their hair 
into braids, which hang down from the temples often as low 
as the breasts, while a thicker raised plait is worn at the back 
of the head. Into these much butter is worked. 

The Shuwa are very warlike. Frequent mention of their 
military ardour and of the leading place assigned to their cavalry 
in the Bornu army is made by both Denham and Barth. They 
fought solely on horseback, armed with spears and long javelins, 
occasionally carrying guns but never bows. Their favourite 
method was a frontal attack, the riders often tying themselves 
to their neighbours by the hems of their robes. 

The Shuwa speak a dialect of Arabic which, while it includes 
many negro and Sudanese words (particularly substantives), 
retains many classical Arabic words and inflections which have 
dropped out of use in modern parlance in more civilised countries. 


They number some 35,000 to 40,000 persons, distributed 
between five groups, which again sub-divide into thirty tribes, 
each one under an independent Sheikh. These are : 

1. The Kwalme, who take their name from their ancestor 
Ghalim, who flourished in Northern Wadai about 1400 A.D., 
and who claim to be Sherifs, as descendants of Ali and Fatima. 
They are the wealthiest group, owning as many cattle as the 
rest of the tribes put together. They are sub-divided into eight 
septs ; Wulad Sarar, Wulad Mohareb, Wulad Salim, Wulad 
Abu loi, Wulad Amiri, Wulad Ghanem, Beni Wayil, Dagana. 

2. The Wulad Himet, with three subsidiary groups, all 
descendants of Ahamet al Ejedum, who flourished in Southern 
Wadai about 1400 A.D. Their ten septs are ; Shiebat, Shiebat,* 
Kilefat, Bulwa Hamsa, Bulwa Zarka, Jubarat Hamsa, Jubarat 
Zarka, Wasabu, Musaribu, Wulad Mihimet. 

(a) The Hamadiye, also descended from Ahamet al Ejedum, 
divided into two septs the Hamadiye and Habaniye, 

(b) The Salamat, likewise descended from Ahamet al Ejedum, 
embracing two septs, the Salamat and Assala. 

(c) The Lesiye or Assale, who appear to be descended from 
Ahamet al Ejedum by a different line to the above, but 
who have been in closer touch with the Kwalme from 
whom they often claim descent. The two septs of which 
they are composed both use the name Assale. 

All the above groups claim descent from the Koreish, but the 
claim, though seriously maintained by some authorities, is lacking 
in documentary evidence. 

3. The Khuzam, who claim descent from the ancient Khuzay- 
mah tribe in Arabia, comprise two septs, the Khuzam and Jilefat. 

4. The Juhaynah, who claim descent from Abdullahi Juhayni 
of the Arabian tribe Juhaynah. They are sub-divided into two 
septs, still mainly nomad, the Beni Badur and the Beni Set. 
They are despised by the other tribes. 

Of all these the Wulad Himet, Salamat, Hamadiye and Beni 
Set are more mixed in blood, darker in complexion, have lost 
some of their nomad qualities in favour of farming, and are less 
rich than the others, and of less esteem. 

5. The fifth group, the Tunjur, are possibly not of Arabic 
descent at all, or have at all events received a large admixture 
of blood from indigenous races and have abandoned many Arab 
customs, so that they are despised by the other Shuwa, with 
whom, however, they have been in close touch for many gener- 
ations and whose language they speak. Tradition assigns 
their origin to Tunis. Their forebears were the early rulers of 
Dar-Fur and Wadai in pagan days. They consist of two septs, 
the Tunjur and Kurata. 

*Two distinct septs who use the same name. 




Mr. A. Campbell-Irons. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

Mr. W. Morgan. 

The Arago number some 3,800, who are distributed over 
the Abuja and Lafia divisions of Nassarawa Province, and the 
Koton Karifi District in the Niger Province. 

Their origin is uncertain. There is a theory that they are 
of Jukon descent, a theory based on the similarity of the Arago 
language to Jukon,* but it seems more likely that their country 
was under Jukon dominion and that the two races intermarried. 
It is probable that they were of the Gara tribe, a section of whom 
left Atagara, near Idah, about the year 1232 A.D., and travelled 
up the river to found the state of Doma. 

The town they built was larger than Hadeija, and was so 
densely populated that there were no open spaces within the 
walls. It was called after the leader of the expedition, Andoma. 
After awhile these Gara heard rumours as to there being salt 
pits in the neighbourhood, and a Chieftain named Keana went 
to investigate its truth. Having verified their existence, he 
found them so valuable that he remained there and built a town. 
Andoma was very angry and marched against him, but his 
people would not fight and he cursed them, using the appellation 
" Aragogo," whence their present name is derived. Andoma 
then had an iron cap made with which he covered the spring, 
but the salt water burst it, and he accepted this as an omen and 
retired. Keana sent him the first two bags of salt, and this 
custom has been continued annually, but they do not recognise 
the supremacy of Doma. 

Atta, the twenty-seventh Chief of Doma, who succeeded 
in 1901, is acknowledged as overlord by certain Munshi clans. 

Ago, the sixteenth Chief of Keana, succeeded in 1903. 

Muhammadanism is penetrating rapidly, but the tribal 
divinity is one supreme god, " Gago," to whom sacrifices of 
goat and sheep are made, and by whose name oaths are taken 
in the temples. Two groves of trees are set aside for his worship 
in Doma town, and in the villages he may either be worshipped 
in a thicket or by some special tree, beneath which numbers 
of skulls are scattered. A village generally possesses two temples, 
huts in which an image is kept. These are fashioned in mud 
with a black glazed surface. One was of a nude male figure 
from the thighs upwards, almost life-size, the arms were repre- 
sented by antelope horns, the skull thereof being embedded 
in the trunk of the image. 

It is also very similar to Okpoto. 


The other figure represented a bush-cow and was about 
half life-size, but the legs were of necessity very thick that they 
might support the weight of the super-structure. Real buffalo 
horns projected from the head, and the eyes consisted of circular 
discs of tin embedded into the head so that they lay flush with 
the surface.* 

Tsafi is made on the graves of ancestors. There is a religious 
dance, hight that of " good and evil." The old men sit round 
in a circle, while boys conduct an impersonator of the spirit 
out from the temple. He is concealed beneath sacking and 
wears a high conical hat, which gives him the appearance of 
being eight feet tall. He walks several times round the circle 
and then whirls himself round to the quick beat of the drum, 
addressing the elders in a falsetto voice, who, one by one, get 
up and follow him. So long as the spirit dances they all dance, 
and should anyone be struck by' the knob which is attached 
by a long string to the spirit's hat it is a sure sign that evil will 
fall on that individual or on his family. An elder, who carries 
a wand, acts as master of the ceremonies. 

There is a second circular step dance, " Joy," when the 
rhythm is marked by jingling the ornaments worn on the arms 
and legs, but this dance is probably without religious significance. 
In Keana the marabout is accounted a sacred bird. 

The towns are built on the edge of large Kurimis and are 
always walled. The average architecture in the small villages 
is very mean, the huts being small and the thatching bad. The 
compounds are composed of a rough ring of small circular huts 
with the doors facing inwards. The spaces between the huts 
are filled by long, fairly heavy, logs of wood, laid horizontally 
and kept in place by upright posts inside and outside, which 
serve both as barricade and fuel store. The entrance is usually 
formed by two rush fences, starting from opposite sides of a 
space between two huts, parallel and overlapping for a few 
feet before each is broken off. The narrow space between these 
two fences, which forms the entrance, is quickly and easily barred. 

The grain stores are not built of mud, but are large cylindrical 
receptacles woven of tough grass, in the same manner as zana 
matting, and raised off the ground on short bush poles to keep 
out white ants and vermin. In the Benue villages all the hut 
walls are also made of zana mats and sticks, as the annual rise 
of the river floods the villages for a time and would cause mud 
to collapse. During high-river, platforms of poles are erected 
in the huts and the natives live on these and travel entirely by 
canoe. The grain-stores also are raised on much larger poles, 
to as much as six feet above the ground to protect them from 

Village of Rukubi, Doma. 


The architecture in Doma and other big towns is much more 
solid and pretentious. Entrance zaures are often very large, 
and the rafter-work and thatching of the conical roof are sym- 
metrical and strong. Whether this solid variety is the original 
Arago style and has been corrupted in the smaller villages by 
Koro and Bassa influences, or whether the mean style of the 
smaller villages is original and has been improved on in the 
large villages and towns by Filane influence, it is difficult to 

The people are of peaceful disposition, and of fairly good 
physique, which, however, is deteriorating owing to the fact 
that for many years past they have adopted the practice of. 
inoculating their children with syphilis. f The children are covered 
with sores in consequence. 

A suitor pays a dower in money, or works, either himself 
or by sending his younger brother as proxy, for three years on 
his future father-in-law's farm (he continues to work on his 
father's farm even after marriage). Marriage between cousins 
is forbidden, and divorce is not recognised. 

Women might hold property, which their husbands could 
not inherit. 

On the death of a man his younger brother inherited all 
property and one widow. He was liable for debts of the deceased. 

The corpse of a Chief was smeared \uth grease and kept 
near a fire for one month before it was buried. His favourite 
wife, child, horse, and three attendants were killed and buried 
with him, together with half his possessions. J By tribal law 
murder was punished by death, and manslaughter by the payment 
of blood money, in addition to which a ceremony of cleansing 
the earth where the deed had taken place was conducted at 
the perpetrator's expense. 

A thief became slave to the Chief, and adultery was punished 
by fine. 


Mr. H. F. Back well. Mr. J. A. Silcock. 

The Ariwa inhabit the Emirate of Argungu in Sokoto Province, 
where they number some 7000. 

They live in small un walled compounds, which are scattered 
at considerable distances from each other, in the valleys of a 
fairly fertile but waterless country. 

* Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

f Compare Koro. 

I Major Tremearne. Jukon custom. 


They have intermarried with the Kebbawa. 

They are a clean and prosperous-looking people, but any 
system of education is unknown to them. 

They are pagans, whose ritual does not include the offering 
up of sacrifices. They make prayer in times of famine, at birth 
and at death, etc. 

Their temple consists in a small circle of stones, the ring 
being complete to ward off evil influence. It is broken at the 
end of prayer. 

The founder of the tribe was one Akazamma, son to Ari, 
Sarkin Kukawa of Bornu, by a pagan woman of Arewa 
Raft. The child was given his mother's tribal markings, i.e., 
two cuts on either side of the face, which remain the Ariwa 
markings to this day, but Ari, the father, was vexed to find 
his son so marked and refused to take him to Bornu. Akazamma 
therefore remained at Arewa Raft and founded the town of 
Bagaji. He was succeeded by nine Chiefs, after which, two 
brothers, Maidoka and Maiyaki, divided the territory between 
them, and their descendants are now district-heads of Arewa 
Gabas and Arewa Yemma respectively, though the greater 
part of their ancestral lands are now under French dominion. 


The Asben kingdom is situated in the desert due north of 
Daura, but its history is linked with the peoples in Nigeria. 
Some people assert* that it was first inhabited by Daurawa, 
who were presently conquered by Kanuri, probably in the 
twelfth century, and when their power waned the Gobirawa 
ruled. They, in their turn, were succeeded and driven south 
by the Tuareg, who sent a deputation to the Sultan of Istambul 
asking him to appoint a Chief to reign over them.f He sent 
his son by a concubine, who returned with the deputation to 
Abir or Asben, and was the first Chief under whom the Tuareg 
clans were unified. He arrived about the year 1406 and twenty- 
two years later the town of Agades was built. In 1515 Askia, 
King of Songhay, invaded the Asben oasis. In 1684 they were 
at war with Bornu. In 1748 they attacked Katsina, and in 
1767 inflicted a defeat upon Gobir. 

Asbenawa have settled in the Emirates of Kano, Katsina, 
and Sokoto. In Sokoto they are frequently styled, together 
with their serfs the Adarawa and Tokarawa, ' Bugaje," whose 
total collective population numbers some 45,000. 

* "Asben Records," Mr. H. R. Palmer. 

f Compare "History of the Bedde," page 59. 


Though known to Europeans as Berber or Tuareg and to the 
Haussas as Asbenawa, they call themselves Imoshak and their 
language Tamashak. That these people were once Christian is 
shown by the extensive use of the Cross in their ornaments, 
especially the saddle-pommel. 

They weave particularly fine mats, and the women make 
ornamental leather-work by means of a series of small incisions 
with a knife. 

They have no tribal marks. The males are closely shrouded 
wearing coverings over their brows and mouth to keep out the 
desert sand, but the women on the contrary go unveiled, a rare 
occurrence among Muslims. 

In their desert homes they are great horse breeders and the 
best horses in Haussaland come from these parts. 


Mr. C. E. Boyd. Major Hamilton-Browne. 

The Achipawa are situated in the Sakaba Division of Konta- 
gora Province, where they have a population of 1,396, and in 
the central Makangara hills (Kwongoma Division, Niger Province) 
whither they migrated a long time ago from Sakaba, and where 
Achipanchi is still spoken and certain customs observed.* 

They claim to be descended from Kishera, who led a vast 
concourse of people out from his kingdom of Badar, near Mecca, 
in the time of the Prophet, and are, therefore, akin to the 
Bussawa, Dendowa, Kengawa, Shengawa, Borgawa, Bedde, 
Gurumawa and Yorubawa.f It is probable fchat the Atsifawa 
are identical with the Sef of Bornu history, and there existed 
an undoubted connection between Bornu and Borgu, which 
appears to have been recognised as recently as the early nine- 
teenth century by Mohammed Bello (Sokoto), who spoke of 
" Borgu-Bornu." The story is that a brother of Kishera's 
founded the first settlement in Sakaba on the present site of 
Karissen, whence the Achipawa spread. After the lapse of 
many centuries some Katsinawa came and settled in their midst, 
intermarrying with them, and their offspring were the Kamberri. 

The Sarkin Karissen may only drink water from Karissen, 
or from Dabai, a Dakkakarri town. 

Certain crops are peculiar to the sexes. The men cultivate 
and own the cereals (guinea-corn, millet, maize, gero and some 

* Vide " Kamuku." 

| Vide " History of Illo," and " History of Bussa." 


rice, also tubers (gwaza) , and some cassava ; the women cultivate 
and own beans and yakua. A widower, however, inherits his 
deceased wife's crops. 

A man does not take up a farm of his own until he marries. 

The right of occupancy to a farm passes on death to a man's 
(i) sons, (2) father, (3) brothers, (4) uncles on paternal side, 
(5) half-brothers, (6) intimate friends. Each class totally debars 
the one below it from enjoying any share in the inheritance. 
Whoever is farming the land at. the time the death occurs is 
bound to yield the enjoyment of the locust-bean trees to the 
deceased's sons, or, if the inheritance passes to any other rank, 
must divide the produce of these trees with the successor. 

The eldest brother has charge of the deceased's children, 
acting as trustee for them. 

Each brother, in order of seniority, has the option of marrying 
the widows, but if these do not agree to the arrangement they are 
at liberty to return to their own people and to marry whom they 

The Achipawa do not practise circumcision. 

They have no tribal marks.* 


Mr. D. Cator. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

The Attakka occupy a spur of hills in the Jemaa Emirate, 
Nassarawa Province, which is a continuation of the Bauchi 
plateau, where they have a population of some 4,000. 

It has been suggested that they migrated from Bauchi together 
with the Kagoro,f but it is more probable that both these tribes 
are members of a large group which migrated from North- 
West Zaria, of which the Moroa, Kaji, and Katab are members. 

All these tribes wear the same tribal marks, i.e., numerous 
short perpendicular cuts along the forehead from ear to ear 
and thirteen or more long slanting lines on each cheek from 
ear to chin. The incisions are painted with soot. These are, 
however, of recent origin, having been invented two generations 
ago by a skilful Katab operator. 

The Attakka, Kagoro and Moroa languages are similar and 
bear affinity to those of the Katab and Kaji. Haussa is commonly 

* This points to Arab or Berber origin, 
f Major Tremearne. 


The Attakka maintained their independence from the Filane 
until, in I9i2> they consented to acknowledge the Sarkin Jemaa 
as their paramount Chief. They are now rapidly losing their 
identity, becoming merged with their neighbours the Moroa, 
Kagoro and Kaura on the west, and with the Gwandara in 
the south. 

Their villages are situated in the hills and are built in a similar 
manner to those of other members of the group.* 

They keep a fair number of horses, which they ride in a similar 
manner to the Bauchi hill-pagans. f 

Their weapons are spears for the horsemen, and bows and 
arrows for the footmen. They first learnt the use of arrow-poison 
some twenty years ago from the Kibbo (Bauchi). They keep 
the skulls of their enemies. 

The men wear triangular leather loin-coverings, or a skin 
hanging from the shoulder,* over a small wicker case ; girls, 
a loose girdle of string which is exchanged for a bunch of leaves 
in front and a thick stem of plaited palm-fibre with a broad 
base behind.* 

Their customs are said to be similar to those of the Kagoro, 
and the afore-mentioned group of tribes intermarry, but more 
especially the Attakka and Kagoro, as their women are prepared 
to clear grass for the farms, which women of the other tribes 
are not. As with the Kagoro the consumption of a dog is the 
final ceremony of the wedding day, but instead of devouring 
it himself the Attakka suitor gives one to his bride's family. J 



Capt. J. M. Fremantle. 

Mr. K. L. Hall. 

The origin of the Auyokawa, Shirawa and Teshenawa is 
identical. Three men of the above names, variously described 
as Margi, or as coming from Bagirimi territory, east of the Shari, 
founded three towns about the year 1211 A.D. The date is, 
however, disputed. Local tradition supplies the names and 
approximate length of reign of twenty-five Chiefs, descendants 
of Awuya, which would bring his advent to the year 1346 A.D., 
whilst another authority gives 1400 A.D. as the probable date. 
In the reign of Jibrin, 1780-1820 A.D., the Filane came to the 
country from Gobir, under the leadership of Sambo Jiginsa, 

* Vide Kagoro. 
t Vide also Moroa. 
I Major Tremearne. 


great-grandfather of the present Emir of Hadeija. He sent 
a present of a hundred cows to Jibrin and asked, and obtained, 
leave to feed his cattle by the river. Jibrin's son, Gazizi, escorted 
the strangers to a place about a mile and a half from the present 
site of Hadeija, and here they remained for three years, using 
it as a base for carrying off cattle and kidnapping children. 
Gazizi then told his father that he would go out at the head of horsemen to drive the marauders from the land, but he 
had secretly conspired with Sambo Jiginsa, who met him on the 
road and followed with him into Auyo. Gazizi then told his 
father that the Filane had defeated him and that they must 
fly. Jibrin accordingly escaped through a hole in the wall, but 
Gazizi remained and reigned in his stead. After a lapse of three 
years, however, Sambo Jiginsa deposed him in favour of a Filane. 

Native authority claims that the Auyokawa are of the same 
stock as the Bedde, originating from a town called Badr, east 
of Bagirimi. The two languages^ show close resemblance, the 
termination of nouns and a strong accentuation of the last 
syllable being very noticeable. Many of the words are identical. 
Auyokanchi is, however, now spoken only by two old men. 

They number some 3,273, including some Filane who are 
living amongst them. 

Auweya is in the Hadeija Emirate, but, prior to the Filane 
conquest, paid allegiance to Bornu through Nguru. 

Muhammadanism was introduced towards the end of the 
seventeenth century. 

No clothing was worn but goat-skins. 

Auyokawa are notified from Katagum and from Sokoto 
Province, but these are Filane emigrants from Hadeija who 
have adopted the name. 

The Shirawa also became subject to Bornu in the sixteenth 
century, and some still reside in that Province. 

Others are notified from Jemaari and Katagum, where 
Shira is situated, in Kano Province, and there are 770 in Bauchi 
Emirate (Darazo). 

In the latter Province they live in walled towns or hamlets. 

Nearly all are Muhammadans. 

Teshena is situated in the Katagum Emirate. The people 
have a great reputation for longevity, living to a hundred years 
and more. They were formerly under Bornu and have a register 
of seventy Kings. 

The Muhammadan religion is observed. 

There is a certain baobab on the Kano road, west of Teshena, 
which is called " Gerazo," and is held in great veneration. 
The people say that its fruit has not been plucked for a period 
of over one thousand years. 




Mr. T. F. Carlyle. The Hon. Oliver Howard. 

The Awok occupy one town in the Gombe Division, to the 
south-east of Bauchi Province. 

This town is situated to the north of the Tula group and 
in Mr. Oliver Howard's opinion its inhabitants came, with the 
Tula of Wange and Iri, from Tuar on the Benue. They fought 
and destroyed a township named ' Tidi," and called the hill 
they occupy ' Tudul." 

Mr. Carlyle, however, thinks that they came from Kakali, 
a town once lying between Kamu and Awok, whose inhabitants 
wer# probably Tangale. 

They paid tribute to the Jukon at Pindika before the Filane 
invasion, but never came under the Filane sway. 

The language they speak is entirely different from that of 
the Tula or Tangale, and was probably acquired from the original 
inhabitants whom they conquered. 

The tribal marks are also distinct. They are clearly marked, 
the lines being neither so faint as those of the Tula nor so pro- 
tuberant as those of the Tangale. The women have adopted 
the Tera marks from motives of vanity, i.e., one deep line from 
the centre of the forehead to the end of the nose, three horizontal 
lines from the corner of the nose, and a quantity of lines from 
the top of the head to the jaw-bone. 

Both men and women have lines running down the front 
of both arms. 

Their religious practices are identical with those of the Tangale,* 
but their priest is entitled " Losuni." 

The legal, marriage, and succession customs are also identical,* 
though the payments are slightly different. A murderer loses 
his farm and pays a fine of fifteen goats, whereas a Tangale 
murderer pays seven goats, three hundred small hoes, and gives 
a boy of his family to the bereaved relations. A bridegroom 
works on the farm of his fianceVs father, as well as paying a 
dower of ten fowls and six goats. 

The music and dances are the same. 


The Aworo have a population of some 3,799, and inhabit 
the Agbaja Division of Kabba Province. 

*Also Tula. 


They speak a distinct language and are probably indigenous 
to that neighbourhood, though some people believe them to 
be an off-shoot of the Yoruba. 

They suffered greatly from Nupe razzias, and were probably 
subject to the Bunu.* 

Their arms consist of a few dane-guns. 

They practise riverain pursuits and are good agriculturists, 
especially to the north of Lokoja. 

Rights of occupancy of land are granted to any resident in 
the community, but if he proves undesirable he is. twice warned, 
and if he does not amend is called before the Oru of Agbaja and 
the Judicial Council and, if adjudged guilty, is whipped. Should 
he continue to prove undesirable he is banished, the produce 
of his farm being divided between his eldest brother and sons, 
while the lands revert to the community. 

Rights of enjoyment of forest produce are also granted by 
the Chief, but if the possessor thereof does not work his right 
the Chief may re-assign it to .someone else. 

Owing to the small population, land is plentiful and is never 
under cultivation for more than four years, and often only for 
three. When it is left fallow it falls in .automatically to the 
village headman. . 

The sons inherit rights of occupancy to land, with any erection 
thereon where there are no sons the brothers succeed and where 
there is no brother the property revtrts to the community. 

The right of enjoyment of trees (mango, oil-palm and locust- 
bean) always passe=> to the brother, but if they are growing on 
the farm itself the brother only receives a proportion. Failing 
brothers the sons succeed, and failing both the right reverts 
to the community. 

All liabilities are paid off immediately after burial. A portion 
of the real estate (arbitrarily settled) is given to the widows, 
and the remainder is divided in two halves : (i) between the 
eldest whole brother or brothers, and (2) the sons. 

If the sons are minors, the eldest whole brother acts as trustee, 
and if there is no brother the headman acts in his place ; the 
sons ultimately receiving the whole. 

Widows are free to marry whom they will. 

A peasant was buried immediately on his decease, but a 
Chief's body was smoked and preserved for three or four months. 
His favourite wife, boy, and slave sometimes many slavesf 
were killed and buried with him. 

A suitor worked on the farm of his betrothed's father once 
to three times a year, according to the number of helpers he was 
able to bring with him. He also made certain presents. 

* Vide Bunu, page 71. 
f Jukon custom. 


No one was permitted to marry outside the tribe. 
The affairs of the tribe were administered by the Or 
Agbaja with the assistance of his Judicial Council. 


Mr. H. F. Mathews. Mr. C. Migeod. 

The Ayu are situated in the Ayu District (145 square miles), 
in the south-east of the Jemaa Emirate (Nassarawa Province). 

They have a population of 1,822, men preponderating over 

A few have been notified from Bassa Province. 

They are said to owe their origin to a fusion of the neigh- 
bouring tribes of Kibo and Numana, amongst whom a Katsina 
man named Ayuba settled, intermarrying with the natives and 
giving them his title. The district head is entitled Sarkin Fada 
Ayu. They were conquered by the Filane Sarkin Jemaa, and 
are a cowardly, unenterprising people. The tribal weapon is 
a wooden sword. 

They are good farmers and obtain considerable wealth in 

The women clothe themselves in a lot of loose strings, some 
of which are passed round the hips and fastened at the back, 
whilst others are brought between the legs and tucked in in 
front . 

Marriage is by exchange, a girl of one family being given 
as bride in exchange for a girl of another family. Cousins, 
therefore, may not marry. If a woman leaves her husband her 
" exchange " must do so likewise, together with her children, 
but if the number of their offspring is even the children remain 
with their fathers. 

A man who has no " exchange " to offer may be allowed 
to marry, but in that case his offspring belong to his wife's 
family. It is more usual for a man so situated to attach himself 
to some family who can provide an exchange for him. 

There is no limit to the number of wives a man may have, 
five or six being common amongst the richer men. 

Widows pass to the younger brothers of their deceased hus- 
bands, but failing them return to their own families. 

There is no high standard of morality before marriage, but 
an adulterer is fined. 

The priest regulates and administers trial by ordeal. He 
hands the accused a calabash of poison, of which the guilty 


man dies while an innocent man vomits and is saved. An 
important man may use a fowl to act as deputy in the test. 

A lunatic is given medicine and tied to a tree, but if this 
cure is unavailing he is left there to die. 


The Ba are situated in the Bukuru district on the western edge 
of the Bauchi plateau, where it culminates in Amo peak. They 
have a population of 3,200. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. J. H. C. Elder. 

The Babur are a pagan tribe who inhabit the Babur, or Biu 
district, in the Gujba division of Bornu province, an area of some 
1,150 square miles. 

They have a population of some 9,727. 

A small body, forty-five, have settled in Gombe. 

Legend assigns their origin to North Africa, but they are said 
to have been in Bornu by the fifteenth century. The founder of 
the present kingdom of Babur was one " Yemptarawalla," a son 
of the Mai (= chief), of Ngurgur Gamu, in the Geidam division, 
by a Mandara woman. He came to Limbur, circ. 1628 A.D., a 
place six miles north-east of Biu, where he was joined by the 
Mulgwe tribe from Dikoa. With their aid he drove out the Burra 
and Hinna, and established the present community. In his suc- 
cessor's reign, the Burra reconquered the country to within six 
miles of Biu ; and in the reign of the present chief's father the 
neighbouring district of Tera re-established its independence. 

Mai Arri, a third-class Chief, and a direct descendant of Yemp- 
tarawalla, by a Burra mother, now reigns. He has again been 
given jurisdiction over the Burra, who now freely intermarry 
with the Babur, the two peoples speaking a similar language. 
He became a Muhammadan in 1910, but is still subject to a 
superstition which forbids the Mai of Biu to look upon the waters 
of a certain lake lest he should be smitten with blindness. 

The country is rocky and the soil poor, but the people can 
grow enough for their needs, and they get some fish from the 
river Hawal. A woman has a separate farm from her husband, 
but is bound to work on his for three days out of seven, during 
which time he provides her with food. Ordinarily each party 
contributes his or her own share, but the woman cooks for both. 
The man grows grain only. 

A peculiar breed of small cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep and 
goats are kept. 


The Babur live in scattered hamlets. 

They are a prolific race, but they suffer from high infant 
mortality, due to the women doing excessive manual labour. 

Girls are usually ten to eleven and youths twelve to fourteen 
years old when they marry, the engagement taking place less 
than three months before the wedding. 

A man may repudiate his wife, but a woman may not leave 
her husband. 

The Mai of Biu has the right to seize any virgin. 

When a child is born the mother's husband and parents provide 
a goat, fowls, beer, etc., and a feast is held. 

They are heavy drinkers. 


Ninety Bangalawa are notified from Ako in Gombe Emirate, 
Bauchi Province. 


A small community of Baredawa are notified as hill-pagans 
in the north of Bauchi Emirate. 


Major A. E. Churcher. Mr. H. Vischer. 

The Bashar are situated in the Wase district of the Ibi division 
of Muri province, where they number some 2,643. 

Over 13,000 Bashiri are notified from Bauchi Province. 
Possibly they are related to the Muri Bashar, who came from 
Konkiok, in Bornu, whence they were driven by the continual 
slave raids of the Bornu chiefs, and settled at an old Jukon village 
north of Wase rock and paid tribute to Kororofa (the Jukon 
capital) . 

lu the reign of their second chief, Yamosa, they were driven 
out by Yakubu, first Filane Emir of Bauchi, circ. 1820-30, and 
settled at Goram, but a subsequent Chief, Abubakr, who reigned 
for forty years, founded their present town and paid tribute to 
the amount of 1,100,000 cowries to Bauchi, and 14,000 to the 
Ajian Bauchi, 40,000 to Wase, and 5,ooo to the Chiroma Wase. 

A series of short reigns followed, when the Bashar were fre- 
quently without a chief, till Alihu succeeded and reigned from 
1892 to 1911. 


The British occupied the district in 1905 and found the Bashar 
in receipt of tribute from the Burmawa and Ban to the west and 
north. The reigning Bashar chief, Usuman Ela, is a grandson of 
Yamosa, and holds office subject to the Sarkin Wase. He is the 
first Chief to have discarded the use of the Kanuri tribal marks. 

No member of another tribe is permitted to settle in the town. 



Captain F. Byng-Hall. Mr. G. L. Monk. 

Mr. T. W. P. Dyer. Mr. W. Morgan. 

Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Bassa tribe are probably indigenous to that country to 
the south of Zaria, now known as Kwongoma, whence they have 
extended to the neighbouring territories of Katsina and Zamfara ; 
but, though they claim to be indigenous to the Gumna neighbour- 
hood (Kwongoma), their neighbours of Pongo and the Bauchi 
tribe say that they were conquering immigrants, whilst others 
assert that they were descended from the Filane Bororo and in 
support of this theory adduce the fact that in Ashera the Bassa 
practised the Bororo ordeal of manhood " Shiri,"* or " Sharup", 
until very recent date. There are traces of a Filane population 
in the Benue districts, who were originally cattle-owners, and they 
may have adopted the practice from these. However that may 
have been, centuries have passed since their headquarters were at 
Gumna, which, though now an independent district in Niger 
Province, was under Zaria in pre- Jihad days, when it formed the 
most important unit between the kingdoms of Zozo and Nupe. 
It is noteworthy that the Gumna royal family intermarried with 
the Habe kings of Zozo. 

It was from Gumna that the exodus of Bassa took place : 
some went north, via Kamberi and Dawaikin Bassa, to the 
Zanfara towns of Bungudu, Gedda and Kotorkoshi, where they 
appear to have become merged with the native population. Others 
settled in Kontogora Province, some having migrated there direct 
while others sojourned for a while at Bugu, in Nassarawa Pro- 
vince, then at Tawari, near Lokoja, before proceeding there. 

They are now scattered over the Niger Province, both in the 
independent districts of Tegina and of Allawa, where they are 
under a Gwari Sarki ; in the Lapai Emirate, where they number 
some four hundred ; and in the Koton Karifi division, where they 
first came in the time of Okaza, Sarkin Koton Karifi, having been 

* Vide Filane. 


driven westwards from Nassarawa by the slave raids of the Filane 
under Makama Dogo. A large number migrated in the old Habe 
days to the Province of Nassarawa, where they settled along the 
banks of the Gurara, acknowledging the supremacy of the former 
inhabitants, the Gade, and in the plains to the south and south- 
west of Abuja, where they now number some 11,646. 

There are a few in Keffi Emirate (146) and some 24,429 in 
Nassarawa Emirate. They have also settled in Gwagwalida, in 
Kundu, Pai and Ashera, where they are mentioned as being par- 
ticularly closely connected with the royal house of Gumna, where 
they have intermarried with the Filane inhabitants, making an 
approximate total of 47,400 in Nassarawa Province. 

The Bassa of Tawari migrated thither from Bugu, in Nassa- 
rawa Province. They successfully repelled the attacks of the 
Filane and gave shelter to the people of Koton Karifi, who were 
less fortunate. 

Those residing in Bassa Province are called Bassa-Komo, 
and now number some 12,064. They left Gumna in the old Habe 
days and migrated to Nassarawa, where, as already mentioned, 
a large number still remain along the banks of the Gurara and in 
the plains to the south and south- west of Abuja. In consequence 
of the Filane raids a proportion of these crossed the Benue and by 
permission of Ata Amaga, of Ida, settled at Oguma in the latter 
half f of the nineteenth century. Such large numbers joined the 
pioneers that the Ata became alarmed and ordered their removal 
from Igara territory, but he was met with resistance, and after 
a six months' war the Basso-Komo triumphed and occupied the 
banks of the Benue, from Mozum to Amageddi, together with 
about fifteen miles width of land along that stretch of river. 

The tribe is split into a number of clans or families, of which 
the Akuba, the Shanshama and the Arashamashi are alike notified 
from Bassa, from Umaisha to the south and from the Gurara 
neighbourhood to the west of Nassarawa Pfovince. These clans 
are further split into septs as follows : 

(a) Akuba embrace the Otindi, Kuberi, Ogushi in West and 
South Nassarawa, the Akallobe, Obanje, Akilene, Euyusu, 
Keggie and Zongolo in West Nassarawa, and the Aregi or 
Arengi, in Bassa and West Nassarawa. 

(b) The Shanshama (or Sanshama) embrace the Kwakwa, 
common to all three districts and the Amonu, Olagwa, 
Jumoku, Onukpashe, Komotui, Nakwashe, Ambarache 
and Kwiakwia, notified from West Nassarawa. 

(c) The Arashamashi embrace the Imberichi, notified from 
West Nassarawa. 

Other clans or septs are the Degeshi, notified from Bassa and 
from Umaishi. 

The Ohoso and Samberiki from Umaisha ; and the Tari from 


All the clans in Bassa Province acknowledge the Akuba as 
their chief, with the single exception of the Tari. 

Each clan owes allegiance to its own Chief, who administers 
through the village chiefs. In Bassa a supreme Chief was intro- 
duced by the British Government in 1912, a Muhammadan, and 
a member of the reigning family of Kano. In the Niger Province 
each centre is administered by a judicial council, consisting of 
Sarakuna and elders (i.e., heads of families), under a headman 
who has little authority. Trial was held by the Sarki in public 
assembly (Umaisha), he being assisted by the elders (Koton 
Karifi), or, as in Bassa, the law was administered by the Chief 
Akuba, and the chiefs of the two principal clans (Shanshama 
and Arashamashi) , assisted by the village chiefs. Very heavy 
costs were levied on both plaintiff and defendant. If they be- 
lieved that the principal was lying he was subjected to ordeal, 
and had to drink boiling oil from a calabash did he spill any 
his guilt was considered proved. 

In Koton Karifi also, if the court were in any doubt as to which 
of a number was the guilty party, they ordered a trial by ordeal. 
The procedure was to pass a short thick rope through the nut of a 
giginia palm, the rope being knotted at one end so that it might 
not slip through. The nut was then buried and each sus- 
pected person in turn pulled on the protruding end of the rope ; 
the guilty man failed to pull it out of the ground. 

Ordeal by gwaska poison was another alternative in use in 
Nassarawa Province. 

A murderer was punished by death. 

In Umaisha he was obliged to hang himself before the court, 
but he often committed suicide in his own house without awaiting 

In Koton Karifi the sentence was inflicted by others ; the noose 
was placed round his*neck and the rope passed over the branch 
of a tree and pulled until the criminal was swinging. 

Manslaughter was punished by death, or by slavery, though 
in certain cases guilt of intention was tested by gwaska ordeal. 

In Umaisha, however, the penalty was merely a fine of one 
goat and one gown, in addition to a large pot of beer for the 
obsequies of the victim. 

In Bassa a thief was punished by flogging, in addition to which 
all his goods were seized arid given to the victim. 

In Koton Karifi a serious offence (in theft as in other crimes) 
was punished by slavery, but in minor cases restitution sufficed. 

In Umaisha a thief was called upon to return the goods stolen, 
and if he was unable to do so he was obliged to work for the 
injured party for one or two years. 

In other parts of Nassarawa Province a thief was flogged, or, 
in certain cases, was enslaved by the headman. 


The penalty for assault was a fine of one goat, one chicken and 
one pot of beer ; but if it were of a heinous nature the delinquent 
was stripped, covered with dirt, and exposed in the market place 
(Umaisha) . Rape was punished by a fine (Nassarawa) . Adultery 
was considered of little moment in Nassarawa, but in Umaisha, 
if a man were discovered in the act, it was considered no murder 
to kill him, otherwise he paid a fine of goats, sheep, chickens, etc., 
to the aggrieved husband. 

A woman was not punished, and divorce was not recognised. 

In addition to any punishment awarded him the offender was 
obliged to furnish the court with beer. If he had not the means 
to supply it himself, his family or friends provided it for him. 
(Umaisha) . 

In many instances, however, a case was never brought before 
the court, it being acknowledged that each family had a right to 
avenge its own members ; thus they would shoot a male, or 
strangle a female murderer, and should the criminal escape in 
person they exacted the delivery by his family of a proxy of 
the same sex. 

Female criminals were permanently interned in the headman's 
house (Umaisha). 

Juvenile delinquents were dealt with by their fathers or 

Lunacy was regarded as an offence against the community 
and lunatics were driven out to die (Nassarawa), but in Bassa 
they were merely deprived of the right to hold property. 

Each Village Chief, ex-officio, holds the land in the neighbour- 
hood of his township and half-way to the next in trust for the 
people, amongst whom he distributes it for cultivation. In Nassa- 
rawa a man is not eligible to hold land until he becomes a father, 
but in Umaisha he is permitted to do so on marriage. 

The rights of usage of oil-palms and of fishing pools are also 
apportioned by the Village Chief, but no alien may enjoy the 
fruits of trees-, even when growing on land which may have been 
allotted to him for farming purposes (Koton Karifi). 

Theoretically land reverts to the community on the death 
of the occupant, but where his heir (if eldest son or brother) has 
been living with him, and working on the farm, he continues in 
occupation. If he has been absent he applies to the headman for 
leave to occupy the farm and customarily obtains it. 

Succession is : first to the eldest living brother, second to 
the eldest living son, except in Umaisha, where the sequence is 
reversed. There a woman's property is inherited by her son, 
and, failing male issue, by her blood relatives ; but in Bassa 
women have no administrative rights, and may not hold property. 

When the heir is a minor, guardianship is to the eldest living 
uncle, and, failing him, to the eldest living brother. Failing a 


near relative the village head acts guardian. Children remain 
with the heir, or failing him, with their guardian. 

It is customary for the heir to divide a small part of the effects 
amongst the family, but a childless widow receives nothing 
(Koton Karifi). 

The heir becomes responsible for the debts of the deceased. 

Slavery was not permitted by tribal custom, though strange 
infants might be accepted into, and brought up as members of, 
a family, when they had the same rights of inheritance as if they 
were legitimate (Bassa). 

Blood-brotherhood is recognised. Each of the principals cuts 
his arm close to the wrist and sucks the other's blood. 

The Bassa country is so fertile that a change of crop is all that 
is required to keep it in good bearing condition ; but a man will 
usually take up a fresh plot each year. 

The work of the fields is mainly done by the women, but the 
men do the reaping, and the corn is garnered in their quarter of 
the village. 

A great deal of cotton is cultivated. In Umaisha the men 
cultivate the cereals, and women beans, etc. 

It is customary for the men of the community to work in a 
band on the Sarki's farm for a day or two each season. 

In Nassarawa the sons work on their fathers' farms until they 
themselves become fathers. An average sized holding is from 
three to four acres. They are in the habit of tilling deeper than 
their neighbours. They do not manure any crop except tobacco. 

The men do a good deal of fishing, and in the Niger Province 
they obtain considerable wealth by gathering shea-nuts. 

In Nassarawa weaving is an important industry. 

They are keen hunters, and communal hunts are organised 
on the jealously guarded village grounds. 

The Basso- Komo keep hunting dogs, but are inferior sports- 
men, and for the most part idle their days away smoking out of 
long pipes with brass bowls, and drinking beer, leaving the 
women to do the work of the community. 

They are an unthrifty race, who make their corn into beer, 
drink it away, and starve every season. 

In Nassarawa. however, they are described as industrious, 
and in Koton Karifi as energetic, though their best efforts are 
only put forward after imbibing beer, which they consume in 
great quantities. 

Their skulls are notably flattened at the sides, narrow across 
the forehead and eyes, and protuberant at the back (Koton 
Karifi) . They are of good physique, though subject to the ravages 
of disease and particularly of small-pox. 

Both sexes file their teeth. 


They carry loads on their backs instead of on their heads, as 
is the prevailing custom.* 

In the Niger Province they speak a language which bears some 
affinity to Baushi. 

It is possible that the Kamberi, Dukawa, Baushi, Ura, Ngwoi, 
and Kamuku may be akin to the Bassa, and there is a similarity in 
their religion, but the points of resemblance may well be due to 

The royal house of Gumna (Niger Province) have kept their 
original distinctive mark a short vertical line in the middle 
of the chin but its use was generally abandoned some three 
generations ago. 

In Koton Karifi there are no tribal marks, though an infant 
is often adorned with the Yanbaka,f and the women have their 
chests and backs ornamented with scars, and incised and tattooed 
designs. In Nassarawa the tribal marks consist of a perpendicular 
line on the forehead and sides of the jaw ; and in Kontogora of 
two short cuts on each temple, and two cuts down each cheek to 
the corners of the mouth. This mark is identical with that borne 
by the Kamuku, of Kotonkoro. 

The women keep their heads close shaven and oil themselves 
every day ; they wrap one cloth round them for dress, while girls 
wear a small belt of beads, or a leather loin-cloth. A copper 
bracelet is the principal ornament. The men also wear a cloth, 
one end of which is thrown over the shoulder, but they are very 
dirty, and only wash once every six days, out of a small calabash 
of water brought them by their wives for this purpose. 

A long knife, with poisoned blade, is carried on the forearm 
by means of an iron ring, which slides down to the wrist when 
the thrust is made, similar to the Munshi. It. is never taken off 
when fighting is anticipated. Other arms are spears and bows 
and arrows, the tips of which are poisoned with the bark of the 
Bokula tree. 

They have a wide knowledge of poisons, the bark and roots 
of trees, plants and insects being alike turned to account (Bassa). 

In the Niger Province the weapons are bows and arrows, axes, 
and knives. 

The Bassa keep to defensive tactics and rely upon ambushes. 

It is a peculiarity of the Basso-Komo that the sexes live in 
different parts of the town, and this is so strictly carried out that 
small boys are sent to live with their fathers so soon as they are 
old enough to manage for themselves (this may indicate Bantu 
origin). The huts are very small, with mud walls and grass roofs. 
Each woman has one to herself, but where her husband has other 
wives their huts adjoin each other. They are round in shape and 

* Ditto Kamberi, Dukawa. Baushi, Ura, Ngwoi, and Kamuku. 
t Ornamental, optional, and in no way tribal. 


encircle an irregular oval space, in the centre of which is a little 
square, made by four pots, held together by clay, with a space 
for a fire underneath, where beer is brewed (Nassarawa). A pile 
of wood is stacked outside each hut in deference to the custom 
which ordains that a log must be provided for every mourner 
from the deceased's pile to serve as seat on the occasion of the 
burial and afterwards to be carried home with him (Niger, Nassa- 
rawa). There is also a large communal stack in each village, 
which is employed as fuel when brewing beer for religious festivals. 

The ordinary domestic animals are kept, goats and pigs, fowls, 
ducks and pigeons. These are not killed except for sacrifice, 
though they are eaten when they die. Dogs and horses are also 
eaten, though the consumption of horse-flesh is being aban- 

Marriage is arranged between families ; a girl or woman 
belonging to one being given in exchange for a girl or woman 
belonging to another. This method is, however, in some cases 
modified with advancing civilisation. Marriage within the clan 
is not permitted, the one exception being in Koton Karifi, where 
a guardian is permitted to marry the daughters of his deceased 
brother when they arrive at maturity. 

It is the custom for the suitor to approach the girl direct and 
in secret, and if she consents to the marriage he and his comrades 
waylay her and carry her off to his house (it is immaterial whether 
or not they are of marriageable age). After the lapse of three 
days the groom informs his bride's father of what has happened, 
and after a stormy scene it is agreed that he must give a relative 
in return, but if there is no girl available in his family he promises 
to give his daughter. Should his first-born prove to be a son he 
begs a girl from his relatives (Umaisha and Koton Karifi). 

If husband and wife quarrel, and she runs back to her home and 
refuses to return, her father must send back her " exchange," 
and if his daughter runs away to another man her "exchange," 
together with the children of the " exchange," must equally be 
returned, the head of the house freely admitting that the ag- 
grieved husband has had a bad bargain (Umaisha). Separation 
or divorce are not, generally speaking, permitted. 

In the Niger Province marriage by exchange does not obtain. 

In Umaisha the married couple live in the same compound 
with the groom's father, unless his wife or child dies, in which case 
he sets up for himself. 

A rumbo of corn is apportioned to the wife for culinary use, 
but though the couple share to a considerable extent, a woman 
is always expected to provide her own clothes. 

In Koton Karifi there are no festivities on the birth of a child, 
or at its naming, which takes place seven days after birth, but 
in Nassarawa it is made the occasion of a feast, when much beer 
is consumed. 


In Nassarawa they practise circumcision, whereas in Konto- 
gora they do not. 

The grave consists of a tunnel, approached through a hole, 
dug variously to a depth of from three feet (Umaisha) to eight 
feet (Bassa). In this the corpse is laid at full length, the head 
being pillowed on the right arm (Umaisha). The Bassa-Komo 
place the body on a roofed brushwood hurdle. Food and beer 
are put in the grave and are also passed down the air-holes which 
communicate with the vault below (Bassa). After the grave has 
been filled in, an inverted pot is placed over it (Umaisha). 

Both sexes are buried in the same manner, but while there is 
no celebration for a woman until a year after her decease, when 
her husband makes play, with song and dance and beer, a man's 
funeral is attended by all his comrades, carrying axes, and many 
of them arrayed in head-dresses, who drink and dance (Umaisha). 
Certain fetish priests, called " Tua," come and dance at burials 
(Bassa) . 

In Koton Karifi, when a death occurs, a goat is sacrificed at 
the family altar, and feasting and beer drinking ensue for a period 
of seven days. 

The death of a Sarki is concealed for seven days. Then a 
great feast is held, attended by both men and women from the 
whole neighbourhood, who dance together, and consume quanti- 
ties of beer. 

In Bassa a widow may not wash or shave for fourteen days 
after her bereavement, whereas in Umaisha she i? obliged to wash 
both morning and evening for five months, after which time she 
passes to her late husband's brother, failing whom she is permitted 
to return to her own family. 

In Koton Karifi she must mourn for three months, after which 
time she may follow her own inclinations. 

The Bassa of Tegina and certain other villagers claim to have 
been Muhammadan prior to the Filane Jihad, but if so they have 
reverted to pagan beliefs, and worship " Aseun " and " Maigiru " 
as described under Makangara. In Bassa stone worship is prac- 
tised, and near each tow r nship there is a sacred hill-top where 
sheep and goats and beer are sacrificed. Each family has a food 
tabu peculiar to itself. 

In nearly every case there is a sacred tree, the Ajuba, which 
is peculiar to a certain family, which no member of another 
family is allowed to worship. Prayer is made to these for rain, 
and good harvests, and sacrifices of sheep, goats and beer are 
offered, the latter being poured over the roots. There are many 
witch-doctors, called 'Tua," who can cure or cause disease. 
They claim to cause death by sending a bean to the victim, 
however far away he may be. 

The principal ceremony is a harvest festival, when the male 
population, smeared with white earth, and dressed in coats and 

4 8 


cocked hats of threaded cowries, dance and parade the streets 
for six days, ringing huge brass bells distinctive to their cere- 
monials, with the object of driving the devil out of the crops. 
On the seventh day the dance changes to one of gladness, in which 
women join. Both sexes, clothed in maize-stalks, form in lines, 
as in an English country dance, and advance and retire in regular 
evolutions. The music is supplied by cow-horns, bells and drums, 
which latter are also used for signalling. The assemblage then 
retire to wash and when they reassemble a dog is shot in sacrifice 
to the Ajuba tree. Throughout this period unlimited beer is drunk. 

A somewhat similar festival takes place at Umaisha, but when 
the corn is in the ear. 

Both sexes of all ages collect to celebrate the rites of a spirit 
called " Agunu." The votaries smear themselves with red and 
white clay, and put on all sorts of grass and reed garments, head- 
pieces, etc., in the decoration of which cowries play a large part. 
They dance and drink for five days. Another rite is to induce 
rain. It is called " Gilo-apa," and is attended by men only, who 
bring large supplies of beer to the sacred site in the Kurmi, where 
they sacrifice sheep, goats and chickens, and dance, drink and 
shout. The rite is repeated at intervals until rain falls. 

In Nassarawa this prayer is made at a certain place, called 
Wuye, probably the Sarki's grove. 

There also " Tua " plays an important part in the religion, 
and it seems that he is a god who is worshipped in a temple, called 
' Boka." There is a certain temple in the bush which may only be 
visited by men should a woman go there she would die. Both 
men and women assemble at the Sarki's grove, "Awuye " or 
" Aguma," a place where goats are sacrificed and libations of 
beer made, the remainder of the beer being drunk by the donor. 

Another sacred spot is " Agwotana," which signifies "the 
place where twigs and small sticks are placed on the ground." 
Chickens are sacrificed here. Should two families quarrel, peace 
must be ratified on the sacred hill, where a goat is sacrificed, 
cooked and eaten. Kola-nuts are also partaken of at this feast 
(Bassa) . 

There is only one recognised oath, Tua, which is connected 
with the religious observances of the tribe. 

BATTA and kindred tribe of BASHAMMA. 


Major F. Edgar. Mr. H. Ryan. 

Captain R. B. Knight. Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 
Mr. G. W. Webster. 


The Batta and Bashamma tribes inhabit the banks of, and 
north and south of the Benue, from the Muri boundary to the 


east of Numan in Yola Province, in a district covering some 
1,700 square miles. At a rough estimate the Batta number some 
14,000, with an additional 221 in Lau div., or, including their 
offsets in Muri Province, 20,735, and the Bashamma some 10,000. 

The Batta have a legend that they once lived in the neigh- 
bourhood of Sokoto, but left owing to the poverty of the soil, 
and, after sojourning awhile at Lokoja, .finally settled in the 
neighbourhood of Demsa Powa,or Demsa,in what is now German 
territory. Hence the native name of Puwa, Pwa (Puare=men of) 
or Bware (men of Bwa), who was their mythical ancestor and is 
now their chief god. They came to Demsa Gong, near Yola, early 
in the nineteenth century, in the reign of Adama, first Emir. 
Before the Filane invasion their kingdom stretched along the 
Benue from Garua to Lau. 

Offsets of the Bashamma, the Djen (9,952), Kunini (292), and 
Lau (270), are settled in the Jalingu District Lau Division, of 
Muri Province. They .all talk Batta or a dialect of Batta. A 
section of the former, commonly called Djen-djen, to the number 
of three hundred, are located in Muri Emirate, where they have 
been settled so long as to be considered part of the aboriginal 

A number of Bashamma from Yola travel to Ibi and Lau every 
year, settling for a few months as woodcutters, canoe-men and 
zana mat-makers. 

The Malabu* are a fusion of three Batta septs the Habaru, 
Diginte and Angure, the Jire and the Lakka. 

A division has arisen in the Batta tribe, as, though the larger 
number retained their independence, some of them were con- 
quered by the Filane and live in the Fulbe Emirate Division. 
Of these the Jire clan is an offshoot. Those in the Giri (river) 
District account themselves fishermen to the crown ; others 
render service to the Emir as slaves, and these have their land 
taxes paid for them ; whilst others pay in kind, in labour and in 
cloth, and are under a headman of the Emirs. Originally of the 
same stock, their customs and dialectf only differ slightly now, 
but it is the Independent Batta that the following more especially 

Five generations ago the Chief of the Battas, who lived at the 
town of Demsa, died, leaving twin sons, who quarrelled. One of 
them, Jaro Palame, split off, crossed to the north side of the river 
and settled in the hill region, at Lamurde, as Chief of the 
Bashamma. His brother, Chief of the Batta, remained at Demsa, 
but his brother's (the Batta Chief's) son, succeeded as Chief of the 
Bashamma, and since then the office alternates from one to the 
other of these families. 

* Vide " Malabu." 

f Billachi Batta speak three dialects Wurkerden, Batta and Bula. 


The seventh Chief, Pafracho (1909), now reigns over the 
Bashamma, his two predecessors having been deposed on the 
advent of the British. 

The Batta proper have no such system of direct descent, the 
"chieftainship going first to all the brothers of one family, and then 
to another family of importance, though not necessarily to one 
of the blood royal. Hartatinchi, a direct descendant of the old 
line, reigns now, but is likely to be succeeded by Billamu, a Filane- 
speaking Batta, who comes from the neighbourhood of Chukol, 
in the hill district of the south, who has no blood connection with 
the reigning family. 

These tribal Chiefs had a right to certain presents and could 
take corn. All land outside village boundaries was in their gift, 
and in granting the right to farm it the Chief received a present, 
or a part of the first-fruits, but it was the habit for him to waive 
this right in the case of a poor man. He claimed all bush-hunting 
rights, and received a proportion of the game killed that is to 
say, on hunts outside the village boundaries, when big drives were 
organised between the neighbouring townships, on which occasions 
horsemen on small bare-backed ponies rode down and speared 
antelope and other game. They also fought on horseback, using 
spears. The tribal Chief granted all fishing rights and received 
a small proportion of all fish caught. 

He exercised rights over any virgin in his domain, though it 
was customary for him to give a fair dowry to the parents. 

Any dispute between villages was appealed to the Chief, as 
also any case of law that could not be settled between the families 
concerned. He appointed the headmen for every township, and 
though he usually nominated a man recommended by the villagers, 
he had the right to make an arbitrary selection. It was the 
custom for a newly-appointed headman to present the Chief with 
a horse, a cow, or a cloth, according to his wealth. The Chief 
in turn gave him a drum and a spear, and either a cap or a gown, 
sometimes both. Unless for some exceptional circumstance the 
headman held his title for life. He does not, however, seem to 
exercise any great power, as the administration is well defined. 

It is worth mention that in the Bashamma township of Dimuso 
there has been a female Chief tainess from time immemorial. 
Marriage, however, resolves the tenure, and when a vacancy occurs 
a woman is elected who is past the age of child-bearing. Though 
rare, this practice of female rule is by no means unknown in Yola 

The greater part of the country which these tribes inhabit is 
flat and marshy, the black soil is fertile and the grazing good. 
What stone there is is soft sand-stone. 

Each village owns well-defined areas of cleared land and of 
bush land. Within the limits of this latter a villager may clear 
himself a holding, and may allot portions of it to members of his 


family, if he so wills. When this is done he tells the headman and 
his fellow-townsmen, and so long as it is cultivated he and his 
heirs retain the right of occupancy. Should he, or they leave the 
village the right lapses, or should it not be worked another man 
will be accorded leave to farm it, though the original occupier has 
prior rights for any future farming. 

The grazing; is communal, and nomad Filane pay a fee to the 
headmen and villagers for pasturage. 

The houses are well built and cleanly, kept, though the sur- 
roundings are often insanitary. The huts are round in shape and 
have mud walls, six feet to twelve feet in diameter, and thatched 
pointed roofs of cane grass. The villages are rambling, but the 
houses are very closely grouped. 

Men and women alike wear their hair in tiny close plaits, 
frequently ornamented by strips of tin, bent round them. The 
usual dress is a leather loin-cloth, though the Bashamma women 
more often wear an apron, or a covering of leaves. The Batta 
also wear a short fatare of special pattern, either of blue, with a 
white stripe round the border, or of Vandyck blue with a white 
or. blue stripe round the border. At dances the Batta wear elabo- 
rate bead necklets and anklets, and zouave-like corsets of blue 
beads ; while the Bashamma dress in black and white, with 
armlets, anklets and garters of wool, fibre or hemp. Neither boys 
nor girls are clothed. 

Each tribe is further decorated by tattoo marks peculiar to 
itself, on face, arms and body, but more especially on the stomach. 
These are made by knives and at times are burned in. A usual 
form is nine cuts on the forehead. The women's navels are sur- 
rounded by straight lines, with four rows of dots above. The 
men have dots on their aims. 

Teeth are often filed, but this is done at individual pleasure. 

Circumcison is practised by certain villages only. 

A girl is betrothed when a few days old, though she is allowed 
the right of veto before marriage is consummated and spinsters 
are recognised. A suitor commonly pays cloth or stock to the 
girl's parents to the value of i or 2, and gives a cloth and mat 
to his bride. Marriageable age is from twelve and ten respectively 
but the ceremony does not usually take place before twenty 
and fifteen. 

The Bashamma marriage dower consists of a gift of firewood, 
sleeping mats, two gowns and four goats, in addition to building 
a hut for the mother-in-law. 

During the period of engagement it is usual for a Bashamma girl 
to give her suitor a calabash of guinea-corn every wet season. 
When the marriage is near consummation the groom brings one 
or two sheep to his mother-in-law, and makes a house in her 
compound, where he and his bride live, as a rule, till she becomes 
pregnant. He has meantime given the father-in-law a feast of 


beer, a sheep and a gown, and at various intervals three more 
cloths and three more gowns. 

The first confinement takes place in the mother's house and 
there is abstinence for three years until the child is weaned. 

Adultery is rare, and stringent penalties may be exacted, 
though very often the husband lets the wife go on receipt of a 
fine of cloth or stock paid by the co-respondent, but if the 
latter is unable to pay he is liable to be sold as a slave. 

Disputes are settled, and trials conducted, by the families of 
the parties at issue, with final recourse to the Chief of the tribe, 
or to trial by ordeal a poisoned drink where an agreement 
cannot be arrived at. Theft is punished by a small fine, and 
murder by death. The execution is either by arrow shot, by a 
stab with a spear, or by cutting the throat with a knife. Should 
the murderer escape, his brother, or near male relative, may be 
seized and executed ; but if all escape for a year the sentence is 
commuted to the payment of a horse or two cows to the bereaved 

When a death occurs the body is clothed in good robes, of 
either black or white, a cap and sandals are put on, and thus 
fully attired it is laid outside the hut. For a day and a night 
drums are constantly beaten, and the relatives cry incessantly. 
At the end of this period a big feast is held of corn-porridge and 
pito, and the actual burial takes place, the corpse being 
laid flat at the bottom of a deep hole, dug at right angles, which 
is almost always inside the hut. Grass mats are laid over the 
body, and earth is thrown on them till the grave is filled in. Occa- 
sionally the Batta erect ornate mausoleas over the grave, but 
these are not kept in repair. 

The Chiefs are buried in a place half a mile to the south-east 
of the village. 

A widow may not marry again for some two years. She in- 
herits part of her husband's effects and has a share in his land 
rights, as is but fair, for the women work on the farms. The 
eldest son inherits from his father, the uncle acting guardian in 
the case of a minor. A woman's property goes to her sister. 

They believe in a measure of transmigration, and that if 
prayer is rightly addressed to the spirits, a change of condition 
may be granted, and that the soul may pass into some animal. 
A hunter can tell from the elongated spoor if the beast is inhabited 
by a spirit, when he is careful to do it no hurt. 

As a general rule, however, the spirit is believed to go south 
after death those of the Bashamma all pass through Gumpao, 
in the vicinity of which the good god, Kwa, lives and there is 
a vague belief in after life. 

The existence of ghosts is recognised. 

Regular festivals are held for the propitiation of departed 
spirits, and each individual has a personal fetish. They all worship 


two gods and an imp of mischief. The evil god, or rather goddess, 
Ju-da, resides at Nafaran. She is greatly feared, though her 
principal attribute appears to be the punishment of crime, and 
she is propitiated by offerings of black goats. Neither at Nafaran 
(near Numan) or Fare (a mil^ from Demsa), her two principal 
shrines, would any native dare to steal anything. 

Annual festivals are held at the shrines of Nafaran, Fare, 
Bozo and Bulke, which are attended by both tribes, and by the 
Mbula also ; but although Nafaran is the principal shrine, the 
biggest festival is held at Fare. It takes place at the beginning of 
the rains. When they are near it is said that the good god Kwa 
warns the priests of Fare in their dreams. They immediately 
send to acquaint the village headmen, who give presents to the 
messengers. Kwa meanwhile goes to reside for a while at Fare. 
After the first shower or two has fallen the priestess of Ju-da, 
entitled Bomso, a virgin who tends the shrine at Fare all her life, 
and who is always chosen from the town of Kona, in Muri Pro- 
vince, makes a final call. It is responded to by every Batta, 
Bashamma and Mbula village. 

* " Each township throughout the country sends a party of its 
people ; all the young people of both sexes go to join in the actual 
dance, and most of the older ones go to watch, or to join in the 
subsequent feasting, beer drinking and marketing. For days 
before the dance takes place troops of pagans are to be met with 
throughout this country, all marching to Fare, with pots of beer, 
bowls of food, and seeds for sale and barter at the market. 

" Having arrived at the town each village party selects a big 
shady tree under which to form a temporary camp, and on the 
eventful day they may be seen decorating themselves and each 
other with all their savage finery of beads and feathers. 

' The men adopt a fashion of feathered head-dressing somewhat 
after the fashion of Red Indians, each man having his own fancy, 
and the feathers being of all kinds and colours, chiefty white. 
They wear three-cornered loin-cloths of dark blue native cloth, 
bound with a white fringe, and round their arms and legs they bind 
bands of finely plaited grasses. Round elbows and knees are 
bound strips of white goat hair, just as the Basutos of South Africa 
love to do. The final adornment usually takes the form of a short 
sword or a knife tied on to the hips. 

" A few years ago the women and girls were practically naked, 
now they wear a tiny loin-cloth of dark blue native woven 
cloth, tightly drawn round the hips. They wear many 
strings of coloured beads round neck, arm and waist ; 
some of the young girls have also beautifully-made body belts, 
almost like zouave jackets of blue beads, which are worn 
tightly round the waist, and meeting in a point under the 

* Quoted verbatim from report by Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 


breasts in front, these of course being uncovered. Round their 
ankles they wear ' jangles ' of iron, and bracelets of brass or 
iron, with which they emphasise the step-dancing later on in the 
day, by stamping in time with the drums. 

" The virgins all carry alight walking spear as a final ornament, 
but none of the women place feather., in their hair, though many of 
them ornament their short plaits by fastening rings of metal (tin) 
round them. 

' ' The day's ceremonies begin by ageneral dressing, then , as each 
village party is complete in all its finery, they form into a line, 
the men leading, and proceed to parade about around the outside 
of the village, chanting and marching after their leader, round 
and round, past other and similar village groups. All criticise 
each other very severely, and the men take great pride in their 
own group of women and girls." 

" These tribes have a bad character, which is probably riot 
justified. They are said to be cannibals, but themselves deny 
ever having been so. They are accused of selling their children, 
but the only time they did so was in the great famine of 1904, 
when they just as often gave their children to traders as the only 
means of saving them from starvation. Slavery was never prac- 
tised, and was .in fact unknown before the penetration of the 
Filane. They, are heavy drinkers, and loaf through the dry season, 
though they are industrious during the wet season. They make 
good pottery of red baked clay in graceful patterns, and also 
weave mats. 

The Hill and River Batta do not intermarry. The former 
are very backward, and even believed that no Chief could live 
after looking at the River Benue.* The latter do a good deal of 
fishing, using trays of woven grass like elongated lobster-pots in 
shape, and shaped cane barriers, against which the fish are driven 
and speared. The catch is subsequently dried in the sun and 
smoked over wood fires. 

The canoes are poor, owing to the lack of big trees. They 
have rounded keels and are pointed fore and aft. 

Iron arms are used, light spears, swords, knives, arrows, and 
also agricultural hoes, but these are all bought from Southern 

The Bashamma use gongs and ivory horns for musical instru- 
ments, as well as drums. 

They are very subject to epidemics of smallpox, and when 
suffering from it eat a pap made from the leaves of the Kargo 
(Bauhinia Reticulata) tree. They use a herbal medicine to induce 
vomiting in the case of snake-bite, but it is by no means always 
successful . 

* A similar belief to that held by the Jukon. 



AUTHORITY : Mr. G. L. Monk. 

The Baushi are not indigenous to their present location in 
the Tegina and Allawa districts of the Kwongoma Division, but 
are said to have come from the east at some time prior to the 
Gwari. They embrace the clan called Pongo (Gumna District), 
whose real name is " Arringeu." 

The population is small, as the Baushi were almost wiped out 
in a raid from Kontogora in 1880. The Arringeu number some 

They are administered by a local council of elders, presided 
over by a headman who has, however, little personal authority. 
The present Chief of the Baushi, Zarumai, is of the conquering 
stock (Kontogora Filane), and was reappointed undef the British 
in 1901. Pongo is under Sarkin Gumna, to whom little loyalty 
is shown, owing to the exactions of his predecessor, who was 
deported in 1910. Pongo consists of seven large ungwas, or 
compounds, one of which contains over six hundred persons. 
Each has its own headman, but rule is through a council of adult 
males. The Baushi speak their own language, which shows 
affinity to that of the Bassa, who settled in their neighbourhood 
many centuries ago. The numerals resemble those of the 
Kamuku, Ura, Ngwoi group. The Arringeu speak a dialect of 

Their beliefs also are similar. Both sections observe the cult 
of " Aseun," who is served by the high-priest Gulabe or Garabe ; 
and the cult of " Mahog," served by Ugwam Mahog, for details 
of which tfzWtf Kamuku. 

Some of the Baushi villages have a Bukin Maigirro, known 
as " Isshe," as to the time of celebrating which a Gwari boka 
is consulted, and another called " Uginga." Each family ob- 
serves an hereditary cult, which is transmitted to the eldest 
child of the same sex, the father to his son, the mother to her 
daughter, as the male and female cults are different. In this 
connection offerings of rice, flour, maiwa, and the feathers or 
blood of white chickens , are made on the village or farm boun- 

The principal festivals are those of Aseun, Afwiaseu and Gani, 
as they are with the Kamuku, of Tegina. 

In Pongo they are Uteun, Giarra (the harvest festival), the 
Ugialla of the Ngwoi, and Kwiasseu or Bukin Sarki, the latter 
being identical with the Afwiaseu of the southern Kamuku. 
This last is also kept by Gumna. The Western Baushi, who are 
not in such close alliance with the Bassa and neighbouring tribes, 
have somewhat different festivals. The principal one, " Giakeu," 
is held after the death of a Sarki or Madawaiki, and on the tenth 


day of a new moon, after a leopard had been killed and eaten by 
the men of the Ungwa. The feasting lasts from four to seven 
days, and commences with ceremonial sacrifice, followed by 
feasting and dancing, in which both sexes participate. The men 
dance on one side, the women on the other, and a continuous 
stream of very personal compliments is interchanged. 

Another festival, known as " Karma," takes place at sowing 
time, when a goat is killed and food and rice offered at the foot of 
the Loko tree. A single strip of white native cloth is bound round 
the tree, and a space is kept clear round it as is the path leading 

A second offering of corn and honey is made after the guinea- 
corn harvest. Sacrifices are made in time of drought to invoke 
rain, and a rock at Tugoma is said to be especially efficacious 
for this purpose; and also to promote child-birth. 

A special sacrifice, " tsafin Sarki," used to be made annually 
on Guda hill, when a black bull was slain by the Sarki, who gave 
the priest (Maijaki) a haunch, the hide and the head, the re- 
maining limbs being thrown to the three Ungwaii and the remain- 
der being kept by the Sarki. This custom was abandoned when 
the town was moved from the hill to the plain, but the present 
Sarkin Mogau performed it on his accession. 

In the Eastern section, where the Baushi have commingled 
with the Bassa and other non-Gwari pagan tribes, the principal 
festivals are " Awie," held at the time new farms are cleared, 
and " Urragge," after harvest, both of which last for one night, 
and are celebrated by full grown men only. " Shiriammeu," 
the sowing festival, lasts from seven to nine days and is partici- 
pated in by the whole village. 

Both sections practise ordeal by poison, except in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tegina and East Allawa. It is regulated by the 
Sarkin Gwaska. 

Oath always includes the swallowing of ashes, which may be 
consumed dry, in beer, or in water. 

Amongst the eastern Baushi, of Allawa, the most binding 
oath is the halving of an old corn-bag with a knife, between the 
parties, with a simple formula of words. 

The Baushi once had mounted forces, but these were entirely 
destroyed in the conflicts against Kontogora. Like the Kamuku 
the Baushi practise defensive tactics and place much reliance 
on ambushes. Their weapons are bows and arrows, axes, knives, 
swords and spears. 

The Baushi practise circumcision, but the Arringeu do not. 
It is the occasion of a feast and is performed when a boy is weaned. 
Each Ungwa is exogamous. Courtship commences when a girl 


is seven or eight years old. Her suitor brings gifts of a 
thousand cowries, corn and wood to his prospective father-in-law, 
and works on his farm. If he is accepted he brings four more 
young men to help him, their duties being the initial clearing of 
the farm, subsequently hoeing, the carrying of grain crops, and 
the supply of firewood. When the marriage is consummated a 
feast is given, at which a leg of beef or venison is consumed. 

Amongst the Western Baushi the customs are slightly different. 

When the bride is of marriageable age the groom pays a dower 
of six thousand to nine thousand cowries to the girl's eldest un- 
married brother, with which he obtains a wife, but there is no 
feast until the birth of the first child, when both families inter- 
change gifts of food, corn and cowries, and revelling continues 
for several days. Though this feast marks the completion of 
the marriage, the young husband and his friends continue to 
work for his father-in-law until the birth of the second child. 

Either party is at liberty to repudiate the marriage, when the 
dower is refunded, with the exception of a thousand cowries. If 
the woman does not prove to be with child during the next three 
months, this also is paid, but if she is, the money is kept and the 
child is handed over to its father so soon as it is weaned. In Pongo 
there is no compulsory repayment on divorce. 

Like the Kamuku the Baushi practise blood-brotherhood* 
as between individuals and whole townships. 

Where the villages are subject to outside influences there are 
cases of divergence from the tribal custom, which is more closely 
observed by the people of Pongo than it is elsewhere. 

The tribal intoxicant is " bami," made from the bamboo palm 
(Hyphaena Sp.), as with the Gwari. The untouched Baushi does 
not brew beer. 

The graves consist of large well-shaped vaults inside the walls 
of each compound. In Pongo they contain as many as a hundred 
bodies, amongst the Baushi only two to ten. but only old men 
and women of rank are buried there, others are taken some 
way outside the village and are interred with no particular rites. 
The bodies are buried in a sitting position, clothed in the ordinary 
costume of a leather apron, with a strip of white cloth bound 
turban- wise round the head. The entrance to the vault is closed 
with flat stones, the women "debbi," i <5.,beat it, and a pattern of 
cowries is laid in the centre. The whole is polished with makuba. 
A goat and fowl are killed, and their blood, together with beer 
and rice-flour, is sprinkled on the tomb. The meat is cooked and 
divided amongst the representatives of each family present. The 
bereaved family make tuo and gia, and dancing and feasting 
take place for two days. The Arringeu only celebrate this feast 

* Sec Kamuku. 


in the case of an elderly man of rank. In all other cases a chicken 
is killed on the grave four days after the burial of a woman, seven 
days after the burial of a man. Subsequently, twice a year, when 
guinea-corn is sown and when it is threshed, chickens are sacri- 
ficed on the vault, one to the mother, one to the father. 

A detailed account of the burial ceremonies of the Madawaiki 
Mogau (western or purer section) is as follows : On the news of his 
death the Mossuku Ungwa shave half his head, and hide his hair 
in their grain bins, whilst Mogau does the same with the other 
half. The Sarki then kills a dog, and afterwards a cock, by 
dashing it against a wall. He then roasts and eats it. After 
that a ram is killed and laid across the path to the grave so that 
the body is carried across it. The corpse is buried in a cloth, as 
described above, and, in the case of a Sarki, a thousand cowries 
out of a basketful of cowries are laid on the body, whilst the 
remainder is divided amongst the .grave-diggers. 

After the burial they all salute the corpse, adding " You have 
returned to the earth, next year you will be earth, prosper for us 
our crops." 

The funeral feast, Gaikeu, is celebrated from four to seven 
days later, and to continue in the words of the old Madawaiki 
himself, " When they have feasted and are satisfied, they will 
gather together and charge up to my grave and do ' Jan ' to me, 
saluting me, and say ' Madawaiki, rainka shi dadde, rainka shi 
dadde ' (may your days be long), and I, sitting inside there, 
will receive their salute, and answer, ' Agaisheku samari, mutua 
gado, mutua gado ' (greetings to you warriors, death is our in- 
heritance) . This they will do each day of the feast, and on the last 
day will give me their last salute, adding ' You have returned 
to the earth, next year you will be earth, make our crops to prosper.' ' 

The brother inherits the widow, bow and arrows, clothes, 
and household utensils, whilst the residue of the estate is held by 
the children in common. If there is no surviving brother, the 
eldest son inherits and gives the widow in marriage to whomso- 
ever she desires ; but if he is not of adult age, the next of kin 


The Bayak are a tribe numbering some 4,025, in Bauchi 


Bazagawa have been notified from the Godabawa District of 
Sokoto Province. 




Major C. A. Booth. Mr. A. Campbell-Irons. 
Mr. F. Dwyer. Captain J. M. Fremantle. 

The name Bedde is derived from Birnin-Bedr, a town south- 
west of Mecca, which was the ancestral home of the tribe.* 

For seven year^ the inhabitants of Birnin Bedr fought 
against Muhammad, after which their chief, Dala, led them to 
Bagayam (Asben) where he lived for seven years before his death. 
His successor, Sarkin Umar, moved to Belma, also in Asben, 
where the Bedr remained for thirty-seven years, until the Chief 
of Belma made war on Bornu, which caused the Bedr to move to 
Andurrur. After fifty years the King of Timbuctoo made war 
with Belma, and the Bedr again fled to Arondai, where they re- 
mained for seventy years without a king. The elders were desi- 
rous of having a Chief and sent to Istambul to ask that one 
might be appointed, and the Sultan in response sent his son, 
Haroun Raschidu. He proved unpopular, and about 1749 many 
of the Bedr left him. Some went to Damargu (near Kano ?) , where 
they settled under an Elder, named Musa ; others to the present 
Bedde District, under an Elder named Ardo ; others, under the 
leadership of Buyam, went further south to Potiskum ; and a 
fourth body trekked into South Bornu under Awio. It was pro- 
bably at this time that the Ngizim, a branch of Bedde, numbering 
some twelve thousand, broke off from the main stock. 

On a comparison of dates with the one given of their final 
migration, i.e. 1749, it will be seen that there is a long period 
unaccounted for. Accepting 1749 as the correct date, and reckon- 
ing roughly from it, the Bedr would have reached Bagayam, in 
Asben, in 1575, Belma in 1582, Andurrer in 1619, Arondai in 
1669 a calculation allowing for a period of ten years for the 
mission to Istambul and reign of the unpopular monarch. It is 
probable, therefore, that the wanderings to Asben took many 

Another version has it that the Bedde arrived in the Bedde 
District early in the seventeenth century (a discrepancy of over 
a hundred years), whence they were subsequently driven by the 
Filane, but returned and built the town of Gorgoram, circ. 1739. 

* It will be noted that the Kengawa and Bussawa also claim to have 
come from the Kingdom of Bedr near Mecca, and that, under a King named 
Kishera, they made war upon the Prophet, but, being unable to stem his 
advance, trekked westward to their present location in Sokoto and Kontogora 
provinces. They are therefore of the same origin as the Borgawa, Dandawa, 
Shangawa, Gurumawa, Atsifawa and Yorubawa. 


It is from the Bedr in the Bedde District of the Geidam Division 
of Bornu Province that the above information has been derived. 
A record of the recent chiefs of the Bedde District give Mai 
Akwia as reigning at Gudigud ; Mai Babugi and Mai Aji at 
Gorgoram, their successor, Mai Duna, having been driven out by 
Rabeh. The reigning Chief, Mai Sale, who succeeded in 1897, is 
a son of Mai Aji, and grandson of Mai Akwia. He is a second 
grade chief and independent, having a jurisdiction over twelve 
hundred square miles, and a population of 17,236, of which 
15,652 are Bedde, the total Bedde population in Bornu totalling 
some thirtv thousand. 


The soil is mainly clay, and cotton, tobacco and the usual crops 
are raised. A considerable amount of stock is bred, and there 
is fishing in the wet season ; in the dry weather the rivers dis- 
appear and the people are dependent on wells for their water 

They seldom intermarry with other tribes, and are a lawless 
and superstitious people, mostly of a pagan religion, though 
Muhammadanism has begun to penetrate amongst them. 

The tribal marks have some similarity to those of the Kanuri, 
though the cuts are deeper, i.e., a perpendicular line from the 
forehead to the point of the nose, and the majority have five, 
seven or nine cuts down each cheek. In remote villages additional 
cuts are sometimes added at the corners of the mouth and eyes, 
either or both. 

A large number of Bedde, perhaps as many again, are 
scattered through the Shehurate under various headmen. There 
are two Bedde villages in the Emirate of Hadeija, and individuals 
are scattered in some Nguzum villages, and they have one town- 
ship in the Katagum Emirate, whence the following notes have 
been collected.* 

These Bedde claim to have migrated from Asben and to be 
of the same stock as those in Bornu, but they have different facial 
markings, and certain dialectical differences have arisen. 

On the birth of a child the mother's friends bring her corn, 
pepper, salt, cow-heels, fish, and the pods of dorowa and kimba 
trees. Seven days after birth the child is named, if a boy after 
his father or uncle. He is washed in water stolen from another 
man's house, so that he may be thus early initiated into the business 
of robbery, which, together with hunting, was a man's main 

When a man wishe to marry he pays the parents of the bride 
100,000 cowries if she dislikes him the money is returned. Inter- 
course is often held without marriage. 

The houses are built in one piece, and all the family live in 
the same compound. There are no granaries, for the grain is 

* Captain Fremantle. 


buried, and may be left without deterioration for several years. 
They eat quantities of dried fish and honey, and to the former attri- 
bute the fact that they suffer little blindness, though it is worthy 
of remark that they are very cleanly in their habits. The flesh 
of dogs and pigs is consumed, the animals usually having their 
throats cut, but they will eat cattle that have died a natural 
death. Native beer is largely drunk. 

A large cylindrical drum was formerly used in time of war. 
When it was beaten, men, women and children would remain to 
fight to the death. The weapons in common use were bows and 
arrows, swords and spears. Shields were used for defensive 

Good wrestling exhibitions are a feature. 

The basis of their religion is a debased form of ancestor worship. 
In the month of Zulkido those who have lost their fathers kill a 
cock and mix the blood with uncooked gero flour and honey. 
This mixture i c poured on or into the grave, and the son calls on 
his father to grant him health and long life, in recognition of the 

Inanimate objects are worshipped, such as trees, stones, or 
an axe tied to a tree, and prayer for immediate wants is offered 
to these. 

The Bedde are very superstitious, but different forms are 
observed by each individual. One man believes that if he did 
not pass a woman on her left side on his way to market, his journey 
would be useless. Another would believe the same if he did not 
meet a dog. A third would turn back if he stumbled on the road. 

When a man dies the body is treated with some medicine, 
which prevents it from smelling or putrifying. After ten days 
it is buried outside the door of the house. A bed is put into the 
grave and covered with zanas. Rigas are also put in. In the case 
of a warrior the mourners gallop to his house with swords and 
spears, cut down zanas and pierce walls. A dance is held for 
a big man. 

The eldest son succeeds, the younger receiving a small legacy. 
The widow gets ten loads of corn. If there are no relations the 
Sarki takes everything, after first adding a riga to that already 
in the grave. 


The Bellawa, now but a small settlement of 120 people, inhabit 
the Kanam District of Pankshin in the hill division of Bauchi 
Province, where little is known of them but that they wear the 
Jarawa tribal marks,* and a further group occur at Fali in 
Bauchi Emirate. 

* They are not of Jarawa stock. 



The Binawa, Jiwapa, Konu and Kuzumani are pagan tribes, 
situated in the Kauru District of the southern division of Zaria 


The Birkunawa are a tribe numbering some 380 in Bauchi 



Bornu : 

Mr. W. K. Eraser. Capt. J. ff. Hopkinson. 

Mr. W. B. Thomson. 

Gombe : Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 

It is said that towards the end of the thirteenth or beginning 
of the fourteenth century, a great number of people migrated 
from Yemen, south of Mecca, and travelled across Africa until 
they reached the mouth of the Shari river. Here a section split 
off and settled in the country they still occupy, that of the 
Bagirimi. Amongst the remainder a hunting dispute occurred, 
which caused another body to break off, and after wanderings 
that took them to Dali between Mutue and Ngalda- Geri, 
Kami, Ngegi on the Benue, and Njibum, settled amongst the 
Bolewa at Daniski (1540 A.D.), a town only a few miles from Fika, 
which at the beginning of the nineteenth century became their 

It was about this time, circ. 1538, that the historian Chief, 
Dunomaisha, reigned from whose archives, kept in the Marghaby 
(Arabic) script, the above information is obtained. He was 
Chief over the Bolewa at Njibum, but whether he was of pure 
Bolewa, or pure eastern extraction is not mentioned. More 
probably he was of mixed blood, for it is expressly stated that 
the emigrant people settled amongst the Bolewa, with whom 
they intermarried and whose language they adopted. (Bolewa 
remains the language of the people, though Haussa is widely 

* Fikan chronicles : The main body of the people wandered into Bornu, 
south and west of Lake Chad, and were merged with the inhabitants. 


Dunomaisha was a Muhammadan, but the people did not 
adopt this religion until the eighteenth century, and even now 
the Koranic law is far from strictly observed, the people drinking 
beer, etc. In Bauchi Province some two-thirds only of the Bolewa 
are Muslims. 

The independent state of Fika, on the north-western boundary 
of.Bornu, may be said to be their headquarters, though the 
Bolewa form perhaps but one-third of the population, i.e., 
7,388. Women outnumber the men by three to two. About the 
same number are scattered through Gombe, where their history 
is nearly identical with that given by the Bolewa of Fika. They 
say that their ancestors were "'red men," who came from Yem- 
mel near Mecca, under the leadership of Moi Ali, who led them 
out in peace some time after the arrival of Muhammad. They 
crossed the Nile and came to Gerra (possibly Ba-gerimi) , thence to 
Pitiri (Fittri), and thence to Birnin Bornu. Later they came 
to Gere, near Bauchi, stopping there, as also at Inkil. After 
many years sojourn the Bolewa quarrelled with the people of 
Inkil, and some of them returned eastwards to Kafaretti. This 
.contingent was further sub-divided into settlements at Biri, 
Rabadu and Fika. A quarrel ensued between the remainder as 
to the Chieftainship, and half the population left Kafaretti to 
found the town of Gaddam, under the protection of the Bolewa 
of Kalam. It is said that their Chief , Bultu, first fraternised 
with, and then, by trickery, killed the " Habe " Chief of Kalam. 
Those who were left intermarried with the Habe inhabitants 
' Rogdo," who were probably Tangale, having a similar dialect, 
and acquired their speech. Those Bolewa who had remained 
at Inkil failed to settle their differences with the original 
inhabitants and left for Kalam, where they settled amongst 
the Yaffudawa, who were probably Tangale. 

All these sections were more or less broken by the Filane 
in the nineteenth century, though the Bolewa of Ribadu were 
given certain privileges, owing to the friendly reception they gave 
Buba Yero, first Emir of Gombe. Yearly raids were made 
on Fika and those settlements east of the Gongola to collect 

It is probable that the Tera in Gombe are an offshoot of 
the Bolewa. 

Their facial marks are identical, i.e.^ a series of close per- 
pendicular lines from the temples to the level of the mouth. 
These are possibly an exaggerated form of Kanuri. 

The Bolewa are also distributed over the neighbouring country 
east of the Gongola in Bauchi, where they have intermarried 
both with the Filane and with other tribes, and number between 
9,000 and 10,000. Here the tribal marks are the same as those 
of the Kanuri, i.e., perpendicular lines on each cheek. 


They have also spread into Muri Province. Their total 
number is some 24,000. 

The Chief of Fika (3rd class) is elected by the elders of Fika 
from amongst the male member?, of the royal house, an occasion 
when the advice of the late Chief's mother is asked. The reigning 
Chief, Idrisa, is a direct descendant of Dunomaisha. 

By the law of the land murder was punishable by death, though 
any extenuating circumstance was taken into consideration. 

A suicide received no burial rites. 

Maiming was punishable by a fine and damages. 

Rape by fine and imprisonment. 

Repeated theft by the loss of a hand. 

Rebellion by death for the leaders and imprisonment for 
their followers. 

Treason by confiscation and banishment. 

Assault was adjudged on its merits. 

Abduction, three slaves were payable to the Chief and one 
to the aggrieved family. 

Trespass was punishable, but was dealt with by the headman 
of that quarter of the town where the defendant lived. 

Sacrilege, by fine or more probably by death. (In olden days 
it was sacrilege to bring a donkey within the inner wall of Fika 
town, as it was thought to betoken the extermination of the tribe.) 

A dissenter from the Muhammadan religion had to pay 
two slaves every year, so long as he remained in tfye district. 

A man convicted of adultery was expected to give his own 
wife a present to conciliate her, and had to pay a heavy damage 
to the aggrieved husband. If he could not pay the fine he was 

Contracts of general agency were recognised, when the principal 
was held responsible for the acts of his agent, but might summons 
him for misuse. If men joined together for trading purposes, 
and declared before the Court the amount of their respective 
investments, their liabilities were limited to that amount. 

Loans in currency (the ordinary currency was Maria Theresa 
dollars, now forbidden, cowries and coin of the realm) were 
given at a rate of about 300 per cent, interest, whereas loans 
in kind were practically gratuitous. A penalty of one-tenth 
of the sum due was exacted for every month's delay in payment. 
A man might be compelled to work for his creditor, but labour 
did not count towards the remission of debt. A debtor was 
usually given two or three months' grace, and was then liable 
to imprisonment, unless his failure was due to some unforeseen 

Sons or slaves might be pledged for debt, in which case the 
pledgee ranked as a bought or captured slave, but the pledging of 
children was rare. 


Heirs were liable for debt in proportion as they benefited, 
but the death-duties due to the Chief were subtracted before 
these were paid the heirs could, however, obtain the permission 
of the Court to repudiate the inheritance. 

The Koranic laws of succession prevail, and heirs-at-law are 
expected to give presents to the parents, uncles, aunts or nephews 
of the deceased who do not benefit. 

Formerly the succession always went to the head of the 
family, though anything up to a fifth part of the personal movable 
property might be awarded to the widows. (This was not the 
practice in Gadam and Kaferetti.) 

A woman's property passes to her sons. 

A man may make a will, which is witnessed and kept by 
the nearest heir, and may likewise direct the Court to make 
gifts from his estate, but only with their sanction. 

The Liman and Alkali of Fika are the executors, and receive 
about one-tenth of the estate. 

Illegitimate children may not succeed, but must be supported 
by their father until they are adult. 

A guardian has the same rights as a father, but must obtain 
the leave of the Native Court before he may spend his ward's 

Lunatics are confined by their fathers, or, if they are orphans, 
by the Court. 

Neither lunatics, children under fifteen, or captured slaves 
are permitted to buy or sell. This prohibition does not apply 
to domestic slaves and to those born in captivity. 

All slaves have property of their own and may woYk for 
their own profit for three days every week. 

The Native Court at Fika adjudges in all cases, but the 
crimes of murder and manslaughter are brought before the 
Chief as well. 

The head of a family protects all its members, and all con- 
tribute equally with the guilty member to pay their share, as 
a rich or as a poor member, of any fine. 

The head of a family is its eldest male member, subject to 
his being sound in mind and body. In old days he paid all 
fines, maintained the young, and gave the marriage dowers, etc. 

The right to occupy land is granted by the Chief, who formerly 
received one-tenth of the corn raised it may be held by women 
and children as well as by men. 

Farms are cultivated for six years and then allowed to lie 
fallow rotation of crops is not practised and no manure is used. 

Horses, donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats and fowls are kept 
in considerable numbers, as well as dogs, which are largety used 
for hunting. 


On the birth of a child the father gives his wife a present- 
if he is poor, a piece of cloth, if he is rich, a goat, sheep or even 
more. For the first seven days he gives her two fowls to eat 
every da} 7 , so that she may become strong, and she is also given 
vinegar, honey and pepper at frequent intervals. At morning and 
at night she is washed with warm water, and she has a fire in 
her house and does not come out. On the eighth day the infant 
is named. Only the Mallamai go into the mosque, but the 
relations gather outside, and food, including the meat of a sheep 
or a goat, is distributed amongst them, part to the men and 
part to the women, who eat it in different places, and there is 
a general rejoicing. On that day, or the next, the tribal marks 
are cut on the face and body of the baby. The mother then goes 
with her baby to the house of her parents, and remains there 
for two years. On her return she receives valuable presents 
and a feast is held. 

Until the age of ten days, but no later, an infant of another 
race may be admitted into the Bolewa tribe. 

*" When a young man, who is usually from twenty to 
twenty-two years old, wishes to marry a certain girl, he informs 
his father. His father calls on the girl's father to see if he is 
agreeable to the proposed marriage. If so, the suitor visits the 
girl's house and gives her four lengths of cotton and one black 
cloth. The girl's mother then sends for a hairdresser, who 
dresses the girl's hair in a particular way, which shows that she 
is engaged. 

" The girl at this time is probably about nine or ten years 
old. She remains with her parents for the next six years, during 
which time, thrice a year, the prospective husband supplies 
her with four lengths of cotton, a hundred ' dowdawa,' and 
one black cloth. 

" At the end of six years the two fathers meet and haggle 
over the dowry. No man can get a virgin for less than twelve 
gowns. The gowns are handed over to the girl's father, half 
are divided amongst his relations and half among the relations 
of the girl's mother. 

" On the .morning of the marriage all the male members 
of the community are assembled no females are allowed to 
be present. The bridegroom's father brings one white gown 
and twenty-two lengths of cotton. The gown he hands over 
to the ' lowari/ a person appointed by the girl's father and 
responsible for all misdeeds committed by her after marriage, 
with whom all complaints are lodged, and who will chastise the 
girl if thought necessary. The twenty-two lengths of cotton 
he distributes amongst the assemblage. 

* The following account of marriage is taken verbatim from a report 
by Mr. W. K. Fraser. 


' He then asks the ' lowari ' what ' sadaka ' he 
expects on behalf of the girl. Instead of replying, the latter 
points to a goat, donkey, bullock or horse, and this is given 
without demur. 

' Mats are laid out and anybody who wishes to give a 
wedding present does so. The girl's father gives two large 
white and two large black gowns. All presents are taken charge 
of by the ' lowari.' 

' In the evening the girl is mounted on a horse and 
escorted in state by men, women, children and drummers to her 
new home. She is alighted off her horse by young male friends 
of the bridegroom, carried into the house and placed on a mat. 

' The wedding presents are then handed over by the 
' lowari ' to the bridegroom's father to be given to the bride 
later on. 

' The girl passes the first night in her new home surrounded 
by six young girls, friends of Her own, together with twenty 
very old women ; the bridegroom and four of his friends sleeping 
in a house adjacent to and opposite that occupied by the girl. 

" At noon, the following day, the twenty old women com- 
mence cooking food, and this once ready any man, woman, 
child, or stranger may enter the house, accept, and enjoy a 
hearty meal, then depart. 

" The old women are then replaced by four married 
and younger women, relations of the girl, whose duty it is to 
cook for the bride and bridegroom and their respective friends. 

' For eight days the six young females remain with their 
friend, during which period no conversation whatever takes 
place between the males on the one, and the females on the 
other side, both parties passing the time as best suited to them- 

" On the seventh day the bridegroom sends one of his friends 
to purchase three goats one of which he gives to the girl's, the 
other to his own friends, the remaining one he presents to the 
four female attendants. 

" On the eighth day the bridegroom produces eighty lengths 
of cotton (six for 3d.), thirty of which he presents to the young 
girls in attendance on his wife, thirty he sends to his mother-in-law, 
the remaining twenty being divided amongst the four females 
supervising the cooking of food, etc., etc., and this done, men, 
wornen, and young girls depart to their homes, leaving bridegroom 
and bride alone in the house. 

' That evening the bridegroom's father visits them and 
presents the bride with various gifts in the presence of witnesses. 
He also gives presents to the girl's two aunts (one on her father's, 
one on her mother's side), and to the six bridesmaids and to 
the twenty old women. 

" That night intercourse takes place. 


' If the husband is satisfied that the girl was a virgin 
he kills a sheep, which is distributed by his mother-in-law among 
friends and relations. 

" If the husband finds she is not a virgin, no sheep is 
killed. If the girl's father agrees, the girl is returned and the 
bridegroom recovers his money. If the girl's father does not 
agree, the case is taken to the Native Court. If the seducer 
can be discovered, he has to make good the money paid by the 
bridegroom, and the girl is returned to her father." 

It is customary to allow the bride the right of refusal, and 
she may later repudiate the marriage on returning the dower. 
In such cases the children remain with their father, and, unless 
she has first obtained the consent of her own father to her action, 
her father may confine her. 

The Bolewa observe the Muhammadan restriction of four 
wives, but will keep as many as twenty concubines. Neither 
sex is permitted to marry a pagan. The first wife has control 
of the stores and supplies, and gives orders to the other women 
as to work, etc. 

The richer men confine their wives closely. 

Men and women never eat together, and the flesh of swine, mon- 
keys and dogs is forbidden to both sexes alike, while women 
may not eat lion, leopard, or hyena. 

The compounds contain a number of huts, with many en- 
trances into both huts and courtyards. Rows of pots are ranged 
one above the other round the rooms, and are finely made and 
patterned. There are also large numbers of carved wooden 
bowls, into which soft tin, imported from Bauchi, is beaten for 
decorative purposes. There are mud bedsteads, beneath which 
are two holes, where fires are lit every night. 

The boys make clay animals with which they play, the girls 
dolls, rudely moulded in a form similar to the Egyptian mummy, 
replicas of those they brought with them from Yemen. There 
is another toy in the form of a laze-tongs for the infants. 

When a death takes place the women wail until the burial, 
which is held as speedily as maybe. The grave is shallow and 
a covering of wood is put over the body to prevent the earth 
touching it. 

The women cover their heads with white cloths and remain 
in the house for forty^days. They then return to their parents' 
houses and are as unmarried girls, but retain the custody of 
their children. 

Marriage with the brother, or sister, of the deceased by 
the same mother is not allowed. 



The Bomawa are a small community of pagans located 
in Bauchi Emirate. 


The Bomborawa are a small community of plain pagans 
in the western part of Bauchi Emirate, near Gura. 


Buduma is a nickname meaning, in Kanuri, " reed-man," and 
it has been almost universally adopted by Europeans. Yedina 
is, however, what they call themselves, as to the origin of which 
there are three explanations : (i) that it comes from the Kanuri 
word, " Geri"=east ; (2) that it is from the town of Yedi, in 
the south-west of Lake Chad, which was originally inhabited 
by the So ; (3) or that it is the name of that tribe of Kanembu 
from which the founder of the race, Bulu, sprang. The legend 
is that between the tenth and sixteenth centuries, one Bulu fled 
from his own people to escape justice, and sought refuge on 
one of the islands on the eastern shore of Lake Chad, but presently 
pursued his fortunes to the west, and was given hospitality by 
the So Chief in the neighbourhood of Kaua, but abused his 
confidence by seducing his host's daughter, Saorum, and was 
in consequence driven out, together with the lady, back to 
the islands of Chad, where the pair became the founders of 
all the numerous Yedina septs. These are the Guria (a pastoral 
clan), and Maibulua (fisher folk), the Budjia, Majagujia, Kabaga, 
Kutlaa, and Dallaa (fisher folk), who gradually broke off from 
each other, and carried on a desultory warfare with each other, 
as well as with the peoples of the mainland. They agreed to- 
gether, however, that the Guria and Maibulua should have the 
right of pillaging Bornu for slaves and cattle south of Kaua 
and Ngurno, whilst the Budjia, Majagujia, Kabaga, Kutlaa, 
and Dallaa confined their depredations to the north. Living 
on islands in a lake begirt with reeds, and protected by the 
shallowness of the water, it was impossible for their victims 
to pursue them, and the Shehu Hashimi of Bornu made an 
ignominious compact with the Kachella of the Guria, that he 
should have jurisdiction over the mainland population on the 
borders of the lake, who would furnish him with corn and cloth, 
if he would protect them from inroads. The Kachella agreed 
to this, within the bounds ascribed to him, i.e., south of Kaua 
and Ngurno. Rabehs' advent the following year ended the 
pact, which was, however, afterwards renewed. 


The only connection of the Buduma with Nigeria now is 
as traders. They convey considerable quantities of potash 
from the Eastern shore to the market of Kaua Baga, and do 
a small export business in skins, fish, butter and nets. They 
intermarry with Kanembu women, but do not take them back 
to their island homes, nOr will a Buduma woman marry a main- 
land man. 

They speak Kanuri, but their native language is a dialect of So. 

Muhammadanism penetrated amongst them at the beginning 
of the nineteenth century, but is intermingled with paganism. 
The Majagujia worship the lake, and every year perform a 
rite, when, after a woman and a girl have prepared corn by the 
waterside, the population pray for plenty of water, fish and 
corn, and then give part of the corn prepared to the poor, and 
throw part into the lake. If the fish eat it at once the omen 
is considered favourable. 

The Kabaga worship a stone. 

The Kailogoma (talakawa of the Maibulua) worship the 
acacia albida, the largest tree that grows on their sandy shores. 
They say that when their ancestor founded the village this tree 
sprang up before his hut and that he watered it, and that as 
it brought him luck he sacrificed the blood of a bullock to it 
before starting on any expedition, and that on his return he 
watered it with meal soup if he had been successful. 



Mr. E. J. Arnett. Mr. H. F. Backwell. 

Bugaje or Buzai are notified from Kano, Katsina, Kazaure and 
Daura Emirates, and from Sokoto. 

They were formerly slaves of the Asbenawa, but the term 
has come to be generally applied to the Asbenawa, Adarawa, 
and Tokarawa (one being subservient to -the other in the order 
named), who together number some 45,000 in Sokoto Province. 
They are all of servile origin, i.e., they or their forefathers were 
captured in war or bought by the Asbenawa (Tuareg). They 
are black and negroid in type, but may have come from a variety 
of tribes. 

They talk their masters' language, Tamashak, and an inferior 

Their tribal marks consist of three horizontal lines at each 
corner of the mouth, and numerous thin vertical lines running 
from the hair to the centre of the forehead. 

Those of the Tokarawa consist of two rows of two short 
lines on either side of the face near the eyes. 



The Bunborawa are a group of barely 100 persons inhabiting 
the Hill Division of Bauchi Province. 


Capt. F. Byng-Hall. Mr. H. B. James. 

The Bunu migrated from Iddo* (which is said to be in Southern 
Nigeria, or more likely in the extreme south of Kabba Province) 
in search of game, and the first settlers founded Kirri and Ike 
in the present Bunu District, in the north of Kabba Province. 
They became the over-lords and were joined by many immigrants 
from Yagba, extending their suzerainty over the Aworo and 
all peoples from Kiri in the north, to Aiere and Ogiddi in the 
south-west; also over all tribes with vertical face-markings. 

The Bunu tribal marks consist of two curved lines from 
the middle of the scalp over the temples to the corners of the 
mouth and a third to the chin, with a short scar over each eyebrow. 
A line is added from the corners of the mouth over the nose in 
the case of children whose elder brothers or sisters have died 
as infants. 

The Bunu Chief is obliged to live in seclusion on the top 
of the hills of Ike or Kirri, whence he can view the river Niger. 
He may not descend, and is at present surrounded only by a 
small community of seven men, nine women and two children. 
He is elected from the descendants of the original founders of 
Kirri or Ike. 

It is variously suggested that the Bunu are of Yoruba blood 
and speak a dialect of Yoruba (a bastard Yoruba is, however, 
the lingua franca of their habitat), and that they are slaves 
of the Nupe, who speak a dialect of Nupe. They appear to be 
closely allied with the Nge or Bassa-Nge, and to have almost 
identical customs. 

Some 6142 Bunu are located in the Bunu District in Kabba 
Province. These are under a Kanawa Chief, introduced by 
the British Government. They are good farmers, fishermen 
and potters, and in Kabba Province are famed for the excellence 
of their weaving, and particularly for their burial shrouds. The 
cloth is commonly dyed red from a practically seedless sorghum. 

Both sexes wear one cloth; the women wrap it round them, 
whilst the men throw one end over their shoulders. 

* Compare Nge. 


They carry bows and poisoned arrows. 

Thev inoculate for small-pox from the pistules of a disease 

They are a pagan people, amongst whom Muhammadanism 
is penetrating. 



The Burkawa constitute a small community of hill pagan 
in the northern part of Bauchi Emirate. 


Mr. J. H. C. Elder. Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 

The Burra are a pagan tribe inhabiting the independe 
district of Biu in the Gujba Division of Bornu, where they number 
some 36,743. There are a few in the Goneri District under the 
Shehu of Bornu, and some 1,375 over the Yola border, near the 
river Hawal. These latter were incorporated with their neigh- 
bours, the Hona, under the hereditary Hona Chief, Giyaiyi, in 
1914, who is responsible to the Emir of Yola. 

They had never been conquered by the Filane, but had agreed 
to pay a small gaisua to the Filane Chief of the neighbouring 
District of Goila, in order to obtain immunity from slave-raids, 
and at the same time granted to him the right of appointing a 
chief over them. 

They claim to have come from the west (probably from 
Ashanti*), together with the Eastern Lala and Hona, but it has 
also been stated that all these tribes came from the Kamerun 
hills to the east of their present location ; statements that are 
not incompatible. The Burra claim to have reached their present 
location in Yola Province long before the Filane invasion of the 
nineteenth century ; and state that they are a branch of the 
same tribe that settled at Bulke in the Song District. They 
speak the same language as the Hona, the numerals of which 
are identical with those used by the Kilba. The Burra are dis- 
tributed over large tracts of dense uninhabited bush, where 
the soil is poor, and which produces no sylvan wealth, except for 
a few groves of fan-palms and of locust-bean trees. 

A murderer can atone for his crime by the payment of forty 
gowns, but, should he fail to remit the price, the bereaved family 
may murder him or one of his family. 

* Vide Gaandap. 


A thief or his family must make good the thing stolen. 

An adulterer has to pay twelve gowns to the aggrieved husband. 

The chief god " Pasha " resides at Dingai, where the Arnado 
is chief priest. Pasha is represented by a rod of rough iron, 
some 2\ feet long, with a rounded handle, and with rings of iron 
threaded together to hang from the top. It is shrouded in grass, 
as none but the Arnado may look upon it. A man about to make 
a solemn oath brings an offering of beer (which is placed in the 
temple " to make Pasha strong "), two gowns, a woman's black 
cloth, a goat and a calabash, which he gives to the Arnado, who 
then confers with Pasha and places the symbol in the hands of 
the witness, who, if he swears falsely, dies within the month. 

No big festivals are celebrated, but food and beer are left 
outside the temple (a hut) at irregular intervals, sometimes of as 
much as nine months' duration. 

Another god, named " Kwariwudia," together with his wife, 
lives in a grass hut in the village of Tawa, where they are served 
by the Arnado of Tawa. Her symbol is a very small rough iron 
knife, on which oath is made in a similar manner to that described 

The Burra were driven out from their northern territories by 
the Babur, but maintained their independence in the hills. Within 
a few years of the invasion they succeeded in recapturing their 
lands to within six miles of Biu. 

They have been placed under Mai Arri, of Biu (Babur), but are 
a truculent race, of migratory habits, who are unwilling to admit 
any authority. They intermarry with the Babur, however, 
observing similar marriage customs and speak a similar language. 

Marriage may take place when youths are from twelve to 
fourteen and girls ten to eleven years old, but as a rule girls are 
fifteen or sixteen before they marry, and the physique of the 
Burra is finer than that of other neighbouring tribes. The groom 
pleads his suit through a friend, who brings the girl's father a 
hundred small copper-coloured rings, four horse-tail whisks, and 
one black cloth, and the girl ten small brass, coloured, orna- 
mental hair-pins. If these are accepted further presents are 
given by the groom at intervals of one month, until the marriage 
is celebrated three and a half months after the first proposal. 

The bride lives in seclusion in her husband's house for seven 
day- before the marriage is consummated, and a week later a feast 
is given, when a musician, who plays the " shinga," a sort 
of dulcimer, takes a prominent part. 

A feast provided by the father and maternal grandparents 
is given on the birth of an infant. 

The Burra are stock breeders, owning dwarf cattle, horses, 
donkeys, sheep and goats. The soil is poor for agricultural pur- 
poses, though in the west a farm is nearly twice as valuable as 
in the south-east. 


Men and women have separate farms, but the man has a rigl 
to demand three days' work in every seven from his wife, during 
which time she receives corn from her husband's store for her 
food. When no farming work is going on each supply food for 
their own wants, though the wife cooks for both. They grow 
considerable quantities of cotton, which they weave into cloth 
and sell to the neighbouring tribes. 



Mr. R. McAllister. Mr. C. E. Boyd. 

Major W. Hamilton-Browne. 

The Bussawa claim their origin to have been in Badar, in the 
vicinity of Mecca. They vainly opposed the advance of the 
Prophet Mahomet and on the King, Kishera, falling in battle 
against him, migrated westwards across Africa led by his son.* 
On reaching the river Niger they decided to settle down and the 
town of Bussa on its right bank became their headquarters. Many 
of them wandered further, and the kingdom of Nikki was founded 
by the Bussa Chief's brother-in-law, Sheru, Illo by his brother 
Wuru,f both states regularly sending tribute (gaisua) to Bussa. 

On the rise of the Songhay power they were attacked by the 
King Mamara, his principal fighting force being furnished by the 
Zabirmawa, whose language is still commonly spoken throughout 
that neighbourhood. 

The Bussawa speak, however, an individual language, of 
which Dandowa, Kengawa, Shangawa and Borgawa are dialects ; 
these peoples being, it is said, together with the Atsifawa, Bedde, 
Gurumawa and Yorubawa, part of the same migration. J 

Bussa is in the Borgu Division of Kontagora Province, but the 
people have spread up the Niger, and there are some 3,000 in 
the Illo District of the Gando Division of Sokoto. 

They practise riverain pursuits and cultivate farm lands ; but 
they are an unintelligent and degraded race, whose only industries 
are to weave and dye cloth for local use, and whose principal 
occupation is drinking beer. 

They wear a sleeveless gown which hangs to the knee. It 
is split up the front and back of the neck in recollection of a tra- 
dition that when their forefathers first crossed the Niger they 
left their gowns behind them in a heap upon the bank, and that 
when they returned each one had been split with a spear. 

* Vide History of Illo, and History of Bussa. 

f Or " Agwasa." 

I Vide History of Illo. 


They have no tribal marks. 

Their form of salutation is shaking the clenched fist (="am"). 

They are pagans, but nothing has been recorded of their 
religion, except that their priest " Mayi " is a woman, entitled 
" Dogua," who lives in a grove off the road connecting Illo andGiris. 

The Chiefs of Bussa were spiritual as well as secular heads, but 
now there is a Sarkin Tsafi. A rite is performed each year when 
the corn is cut, on the grave of the last deceased Sarkin Bussa, 
which is enclosed within a small hut, the entrance to which is 
barred by a stone. A red or a white bull is brought thither, and 
struck three times on the back with a pestle, by the Sarkin Tsafi, 
who then cuts its throat. The blood is left for the spirits to drink, 
and the flesh is divided amongst the people. A fowl and goat are 
killed, and their blood is sprinkled on the stone which bars the 
entrance to the grave. 

Before going out to war, after the grass was burnt in the dry 
season, a black goat was taken out about a mile down the Luma 
road and there released. Horsemen chased it, and each one buried 
his spear in its flesh. The first to do so was awarded four kola- 
nuts, the beast being then buried in the bush. 

A similar rite is still performed on the occasion of an epidemic 
of smallpox. 

At the commencement of the tornado season, before the rains, 
a black bull is killed at the tsafi stone, near Kagoji, on which the 
blood is sprinkled. The meat is distributed amongst the people. 
This sacrifice is thought to prolong the life of the Sarkin Bussa. 

There are also tsafi places at Mt. Zakana and the hills just 
outside Kainji. 

When the guinea-corn is nearly ripe, the men repair to a tsafi 
stone, half a mile west of Bussa, where they brew beer and spend 
the night. The next morning the Sarkin Bussa rides out with 
all his horsemen and the horses are given beer they will not all 
drink it to give them health. 

Until recent years a stretch of land between Bussa and Gani 
Kasai, as also between Gani Kasai and Sagunu, was preserved 
from forest fires until a big game drive had taken place, at the 
termination of which a feast was held. The two events took 
place within a week of each other. 

Formerly the Sarkin Bussa might not cross the Niger, because 
Kishera had never recrossed to the left bank; but in 1908, after 
the sacrifice of a black bull, this custom was broken through. 
He might only drink water from the Niger, or from Karissen, a 
place in Sakaba, founded by a brother of Kishera. 

Every two years the men of the surrounding towns assemble, 
and after a bull has been sacrificed, plant sixty to a hundred 
rows of yams, each row being about 150 yards long, at the Sarki's 
expense. When ripe anyone who is destitute may come and help 
himself to the produce. 


Whilst the more influential men took up land in the vicinity 
of Bussa the talakawa spread westwards and became known as 
Borgawa or Barr'ba. The latter is the title given to the inhabitants 
of South Borgu by the Yoruba ; the former the title conferred 
on them by the Haussa. Borgawa is, however, sometimes 
applied to the inhabitants of North Borgu exclusively, and 
Barr'ba to the inhabitants of South Borgu. 

They are variously described as speaking dialects of Yoruba 
and Busanchi (Dandenchi) . 

Their tribal mark is the Shatani or Bille, i.e., a breadline 
extending for about three inches from the bridge of the nose 
downwards, on one or both sides of the face. 

Their dress is identical with that of the mother stock. 

Their form of salutation is prostration. 

A suitor makes small presents to the girl's people every year, 
and also on the occasion of festivals, until the marriage is con- 
summated. The tie is a loose one. 

The dead are buried inside the compound, where their families 
remain for a period of three months, after which time the effects 
are divided and the widows remarry. 

The property is divided into two halves, the eldest son gets 
one, the other is divided amongst the younger children, male and 

The older generation have no claim, but, if the widow has been 
perfectly faithful , it is customary for the heir to make her a present . 

Boko is the name given to the people of Kaiama, and " Boka- 
lawa " is the Haussa form of the name of the people in Borgu, 
known at Boko. A certain number of immigrants from there 
have settled in the southern Gando Districts. Dandowa is the 
title of the Borgu mallams, which, in some instances at all events, 
has been applied to their descendants. They are, of course, an 
offshoot of the Bussawa race, and speak a dialect of the same 

They have been notified from Sokoto Province, Argungu 
Emirate, but the name is now generally applied to all inhabitants 
of that particular district whatever their nationality. 

The Gurumawa. an offshoot of the Bussawa race, are located 
in Sokoto Province. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. S. Grier. 

The Butawa, or Mbotuwa, are situated in the Independent 
State of Burra, in the western Ningi hills, in the north of Bauchi 
Province, under an hereditary chief of their own race. The popu- 
lation, which numbers some 7,200, consists mainly of Butawa. 


There is also a settlement in the Makamai District of Kano 
Province, whither a section had migrated from Burra in the latter 
half of the nineteenth century. 

The Butawa state that they have lived in Burra for very 
many generations, and they are probably of common origin with 
their neighbours, the Ningawa, the languages of the two tribes 
showing a remarkable similarity. The children are, however, 
now being taught Haussa. They also show considerable affinity 
to the neighbouring Warjawa, Afawa, Kudawa tribes. 

They have no distinctive tribal marks, though many of them 
adopt those of the Kanawa. 

The Butawa are just commencing to move down from the 
hills, where the soil is poor, to the fertile plains below. They 
possess little stock, only a few sheep and goats. 

They are famous for their knowledge of medicinal herbs. 

The Sarkin Burra and a sprinkling of his followers are Mu- 
hammadans, but the mass of the people worship a god, through 
the priest, who is often also the headman, Magaji'n-Dodo ; con- 
sulting him as to the conduct of war, etc. Each family or clan 
has, in addition, its own god, and every fifth year, first the tribal, 
then the family, gods appear in visible form. On these occasions 
the women hide, while boys of seven years or upwards are cir- 
cumcised, after which they are left in the sacred grove for a period 
of two months, the men bringing them food. On their return 
home, cattle, sheep, goats and fowls are slaughtered and a great 
feast is celebrated. 

They believe that certain people have power to assume the 
form of animals, more particularly elephants. 

In Kano Province the shrines are amongst the rocks. After 
the harvest they go to Burra to celebrate the festival with their 

All disputes are settled by the family head, who commonly 
calls on the accused to attest his innocence, by oath, on the grave 
of the family god. Should any misfortune overtake him in the 
ensuing year he is thought to have forsworn himself, and his 
whole household is forfeit to the accuser, who, however, is 
generally bought off by a heavy ransom. 

Marriage outside the tribe was not permitted. Within its 
limits it was arranged by exchange, i.e., one girl for another; 
but where this was impossible a dower of some 20,000 cowries 
was commonly accepted. 

In Kano Province girls are betrothed at the age of five or six, 
on a system of dower paid to their fathers, while a man married 
as many wives as he could afford. 

Divorce might be granted by the village head, but the father 
retained possession of the children. 

The dead are buried in the compounds in a sitting position 
in Kano ; lying (the men on their right, the women on their left 


sides) in Burra, with their heads resting on their hands. The 
burial ground is common to all members of the same family, 
though a stone is set up on end to mark the grave of an important 
personage. A wake is held after a short interval, and libations 
of beer are poured on to the graves whenever a fresh death occurs 
in the family. In Kano a bull is killed on the death of a rich man, 
a goat on the death of a poor man. 

Dead animals are an article of diet. 

Men wear gowns, while women wear bunches of leaves both 
before and behind, which are suspended from a string round the 


The Bwol are a small tribe of 1,831 persons inhabiting the 
Ibi Division of Muri Province. 



Mr. A. L. Auchinleck. Mr. H. S. Berkeley. 

Mr. H. Q. Glenny. 

The Chamba tribe are probably of Vere descent, though 
they have now commingled with their Mumye neighbours. 

They inhabit an area of some 240 square miles on the Yola, 
Muri and Kamerun border, and the west part of the Vere hills. 

It is a hilly, well- watered country and the people are good 
farmers, possessing much live stock. Those in the valleys are 
keen traders, though the hill section are wild and timid, living 
in small huts perched amidst big boulders. 
. The village Chiefs have little authority, but in times of war 
all united under one War-chief. They maintained their inde- 
pendence, but have recently been put under a Filane district- 
head in the pagan division of Yola Emirate. 

The women wear bunches of leaves and occasionally cloths ; 
the men wear loin cloths. 

They are given to excessive pito drinking. 

The population numbers some 8,035. 

Besides those aforementioned in Yola province and in the 
Kamerun (of whom we know nothing), a considerable section 
migrated from Tubati (Kamerun) and from the Dingi country 
east of Yola, about 1832, to escape the increasing pressure of 
the Filane. They came first to the neighbourhood of Wukari, 
where some of them settled under the Jukon ; others trekked 
north and south to the Ibi and Takum districts, but the majority 
joined the main body, circ. 1838, who had gone direct to Donga. 
Owing to a famine they again separated, some going north and 
north-east to Jibu and Wurrio, but this section were exposed 
to such heavy taxation from the Filane Emirs that they left 
once more for the south, and finally settled in the Suntai District 
(Ibi Division), adjoining Donga, about 1870. There they were 
under Bakundi, to whom they paid an annual tribute, consisting 
of a small number of slaves. 

These Chamba had intermarried freely with the Jukon and 
Kentu, and their language is said to bear a close resemblance 
to that of the Jukon. They number some 6,000-7,000, and are 


composed of the Denye, Doros and Tugumawa clans, the former 
contributing some 5,500 to the total population. 

As we have seen, a section of the Chamba came south to 
Takum, where some remained, though others rejoined the main 
body at Donga, and others again settled on the Gamana River 
in Munshi territory. The Takum settlers were attacked by the 
Zumperri tribe from the south, but, on receiving reinforcements 
from Gamana, succeeded in reducing and even enslaving the 
Zumperri, who were, however, eventually ordered to return 
to their hills on recognising the supremacy of the Chamba, to 
whom they paid tribute at Takum. The two sections of Chamba 
then united under the leadership of Kumboshi, who was a grand- 
son of that Sarkin Tubati who was reigning when the migration 
from the Kamerun took place. They became powerful and 
attacked and sacked the Jukon town of Wukari. 

The twelfth Chief of Takum received an envoy from the 
vSarkin Muslimi, who sent him a flag and a present of horses ; 
and in return Takum sent thirty slaves to Sokoto, the beginning 
of an annual tribute of from ten to forty slaves, which only 
ceased on the advent of the British in 1901. The fourteenth 
Chief tendered his allegiance and paid taxes to the British, but 
was presently deposed for slave-dealing. 

Yamusa, the present Sarkin Takum, was installed in 1907. 

This branch of the Chamba is known as the Tik'r, or Tikarawa. 
They number some 3,243 and are now merged in the Zumperri 
District, Ibi Division. 

Their language is said to bear a close resemblance to that of the 
Jukon . 

Some 453 Denye occupy the Kasimbila District, in the Munshi 
Division, where they speak a mixture of debased Jukon, Haussa 
and Munshi, and have generally adopted Munshi customs. 

They are descendants of that branch of the Chamba which 
settled on the Gamana River, whence a small portion broke off, 
moving to the Katsena River. 

Between the abovementioned Chamba in Muri Province, and 
those in their original location on the Yola-Kamerun border, 
are a section of Chamba, commonly known as Dakka, numbering 
some 2,228. They are situated in the Kam District of the Lau 
Division of Muri Province, and are under the Sarkin Kam. 
The Dakka live on the south bank of the river Kam and the Kam 
on its north bank. It has been suggested that both sections 
are septs of the Chamba, but it appears that they differ widely 
in language and in customs. The Chamba acclaim the Dakka 
as their brethren. Their customs appear to be identical with 
those of the Chamba proper. Like them, theii language is said 
to resemble that of the Jukon. 

The Kam number some 583. 


They are an agricultural people, guinea-corn being the staple 
crop, which also serves as the medium of currency. 

There is very little stock, only a few sheep and goats being kept. 

Hunting is the principal occupation. 

Other septs of the Chamba are the Gwanda and the Dirrim, 
who are on the Muri-Kamerun border. The total Chamba popula- 
tion is, therefore, over twenty-one thousand. 

The Chamba girls marry at an early age. A semi-private 
arrangement is entered into with the suitor, who, when the 
time for consummation comes, goes through the form of carrying 
off his bride at night. Her father seeks her and is presently 
informed of what has happened by a friend of the groom's, to 
which he only replies by demanding her back. The groom then 
sends him a gift of goats and fowls, and if these are accepted, 
the marriage is proceeded with. The young husband presents 
his father-in-law and the Chief with some guinea-corn, and a 
feast and dance is held, when each of his friends give the groom 
two arrows and together select a new name for the bride, by 
which she is henceforth called. 

Should a girl's father not accept the goats and fowls his 
daughter must be returned to him. 

No limit is set to the number of wives a man may have, 
but as a matter of practice it is rare for him to have more than 
one, and amongst the Tik'r a large proportion Wave none. 

On obtaining the consent of a father to his daughter's marriage 
it is their custom for the suitor to give him some black cloths. 

A suitor from the Kam District gives a few calabashes and 
some zana matting to his betrothed's people, and works on her 
father's farm until such time as his bride conceives, when a new 
compound is built. 

Adultery is no crime. 

A week after the birth of an infant a dance and feast is held 
and much beer is consumed. One of the guests names the baby 
and smears its throat with shea-butter and the parents make 
a present to the Chief. 

Dogs are a staple article of food and fetch from is. to 35. 6d. 

Besides the aforementioned presents to the Chiefs on the 
occasion of births and marriages, the Sarki levied considerable 
imposts in the form of gaisua. 

Each township had its Chief, who was subject, to the Sarkin 
Suntai or Donga, who were themselves assisted by a family 
council, consisting of their brothers, nephews and sons. 

When a Chief dies the fact is made known to the Elders, 
but to them alone. They announce to the people that he is 
unwell. When the body is cold they select a member of the 

* Donga and Suntai. 


royal family to be his successor and bring him to the dead man's 
house. In complete silence one of their number moves the body 
three times in a final effort to rouse it, after which it is buried 
inside the house or compound. In the latter case a hut is built 
over it. 

Formerly his first wife was buried with him, but not alive. 
She was first stunned and then her neck was wrung. His favourite 
slave, too, had his skull smashed with a club and was then laid 
behind his master, with a pipe, filled with tobacco, in his hand, 
and a piece of iron-stone beside him with which to strike a light. 
Pots and pans were placed in the grave and four strips of cloth 
tied over its mouth. 

The bones of the Chief were left in the grave, which might 
never be used again, but, after an interval, his head was removed 
and carried to the spirit grove, when first his death was formally 
announced, though this might not be until after the festival 
of the first-fruits had taken place. 

The people assembled in large numbers and sat in a vast 
circle round the bereaved family, who were grouped together 
in the centre. The head elder, titled " Panati," walked three 
times round them, holding in his hand a white cloth, which 
he finally bound round the arm of the newly elected Chief. The 
other members of the family immediately dropped back to the 
outer circle, while a new gown was brought to the Chief, which 
he donned amidst the beating of drums and acclamations of the 
crowd. Followed by them, he retired to his house, where the 
elders were assembled, each with a whip in his hand.* They 
greeted him with the enquiry as to who it might be coming to 
their father's house ; but on his replying : ' It is I, the Sarki," 
all saluted him, and he held a reception. f 

The burial of an ordinary individual is executed by the sons 
or nearest male relatives. The graves are outside the town. 
A man is laid on his right side in a tunnel approached through 
a hole five or six feet in depth, whilst a woman is laid on her 
left side in a T-shaped tunnel. The heads of both sexes alike 
are placed within a pot and the grave is closed by a large stone 
and loose earth. 

A wake it held some three or four months later, when the 
flesh has decayed from the bones ; the sons reopen the grave 
and take out the pot containing the head, which they clean in 
a secret place. A man's head is placed in another ornamented 
pot, a woman's in a plain one, and each respectively is carried 
to the spirit grove set apart for their sex. 

* It was the ancient Yoruba custom to castigate the chief on his election, 
as a test of endurance. If he flinched the appointment was not ratified 
Major Ellis, "The Yoruba-speaking Tribes of the Slave Coast of West 
Africa." Chapman, Hall. 

t Similar to Jukon customs. 


After about a year has elapsed the grave is reopened and 
the bones removed (for they have no more virtue) so that the 
grave may be used again. It is sometimes hired out by the 
year, but may never be used for two bodies at once. 

Children are put in an ordinary grave without further ceremony ; 
slaves receive full burial, but their heads are not subsequently 
removed, as their spirits have no place in the ancestral grove. 

The groves consist of a few trees in a screen of bushes, and 
here the spirits live, for where their heads are there can their 
spirits go ; consequently, when a village is moved, the heads 
are all conveyed to a new grove in its vicinage. The women 
prepare food, which the sons bear to their fathers. At first 
they require as much food as a live man, but as the deceased 
etherialises less and less is required, though the offerings must 
never cease altogether. The living seek the counsel of the dead, 
the daughter of her mother, the ^on of his father, and the election 
of a village headman is submitted to the spirits of the ancestors. 
The spirits can go abroad to observe the doings of the tribe, 
but cannot communicate with them except in the groves. 

On either side of all paths leading to a town, and from a 
distance of a hundred to three hundred yards from it, are spirit- 
gates, where the dead keep watch to turn away evil spirits and 
small-pox from approaching their children. These gates may 
consist of stone cairns, of heaps of reeds and sticks and antelope 
horns. They may be mounds of earth, or, as at Dakka, of two 
to twelve monoliths of solid rock a foot high. 

Here the village elders bury the first-fruits of every crop, 
which they eat in company with their ancestors days on which 
no other person is allowed to leave the town. Should anyone 
eat corn before this ceremony is performed the whole crop would 
lose its power of nourishment. 

The spirit Jubi is the father of all the Chamba, and it is 
believed that his headquarters are in the Kamerun, west of 
Dakka. He has large numbers of sons, Juba, each of whom 
is attended by an hereditary priest. They issue from their 
graves in terrifying form to chastise a refractory woman, and 
may only be consulted through the priesthood. One of the 
guises assumed is that of a human figure clothed in grass, with a 
small tail suspended ; the face is concealed behind a fiat and 
featureless wooden mask, red in colour, with two horns and an 
enormous protruding mouth in the centre of the face. Another 
guise is the form of a donkey, fashioned in clay, with the head 
of a crocodile ; this is hidden in the bush. 

A spirit may be reincarnated into one of his descendants. 

Some 15 per cent, of the Chamba of Donga are Muslims, 
but the majority worship a number of deities, gods of war, of 


hunting, etc. ' Bussom "* is the chief god, and the principal 
ceremony is held at the beginning of the rains. Chickens are 
sacrificed to him, but the blood is never shed, in sacrifice or 

The Chamba of Tik'r believe in a supreme god named " Shin- 
dung," who is the ruler of their destinies. The principal festival 
is held at the beginning of the wet season, when the people pray 
for sufficient rains and a good harvest. 

1.7 per cent, are Muhammadans. 


Mr. \V. F. Gowers. Mr. S. E. M. Stobart. 

The tribes of Amo, Buji, Chawai, Gurrum, Gussum, Jengre 
(or Jere) Kachicharri, Rebin (or Riban), and Rukuba are of 
the same stock and speak the same language with dialectical 

The group is probably akin to the Katab, Kagoro, Attakka, 
Moroa and Kaje family, a relationship between the Katab and 
Kachicharri being specifically claimed. These two clans speak 
dialects of the same language and practise similar customs. 

The Buji, Gurrum, Gussum and Jengre occupy an area of 
some 140 square miles in the north-west of the Bukuru District 
of Bauchi Province, on the borders of Zaria Province, where 
they are known collectively as Narabuna, and where they have 
a population of some 7,280, to which the Bujawa contribute 925. 

The Buji and Gurrum migrated from the neighbourhood of 
Riban (Zaria), of which the name Narabuna is a corruption. 
They speak an identical dialect with their brethren of Bugel, 
Gurrum and Rebina, who live in other parts of Bauchi Emirate, 
and they paid a nominal tax to Bauchi. 

The Jengre and Gussum, cannibals, arrived later in the 
Narabuna District, having migrated thither from Fanginna, 
near Sanga. They speak an identical dialect. Gussum paid 
tribute to Sarkin Leri in Zaria. 

Each of these four groups built a town of their own name 
in the rocky mountainous country overlooking the plains of 
Zaria, and the Jengre were joined for a while by a settlement of 
Kurama, who have now almost all returned to their own people. 

* " Bussom" is also worshipped by the Gurkawa. 

f Mr. W. F. Gowers, writing "tentatively" on the languages of the 
Bauchi Province, describes a similarity " often very trifling" between those 
spoken by the Buji, Guram, Jere, Naraguta and Taura group, which he thinks 
may be related to the Sira, Afawa, Wurjawa, Rebinawa and Butawa group, 
though between members of this latter group he says only ' ' traces of 
connection " have been found. 


A considerable number of the Narabuna speak Haussa. 

The district is well watered, the principal river being the 
Gurrum. Sheep and goats are kept and the plain lands are well 

The Narabuna tribal marks consist of slight parallel cuts on 
the face. 

The women pierce their lower lips, and clothe themselves in 
leaves, which hang in bunches before and behind. 

The men wear leather round their loins, though a few possess 

They practise circumcision. 

The marriage system is one of exchange ; the groom fur- 
nishing a girl from his own family in lieu of the bride whom he 
receives. Where he is unable to do so, work on the farm of the 
bride's father is sometimes accepted instead. 

The corpses of Jengre and Gussum sarakuna are washed in the 
Maidaiki's compound, and then burned in a large hole or hecatomb 
in the chief's compound, each one being lain on a mat, which 
is then covered over. 

A heap of black stones, said to be thunderbolts, are kept in 
the temple. Oath is administered on them and it is believed that 
death by lightning would overtake a false witness. 

Bows and arrows are the tribal weapons. 

Of the Rebina, as apart from the Narabuna, it is notified that 
they are a numerous and prosperous tribe, though backward in 
civilisation. They are located in Bauchi Emirate and in the 
neighbouring Riban District in Zaria Emirate, where they number 
some four hundred. 

The Rukuba are situated in flat country on the western edge 
of the Bauchi plateau, where it breaks into small ravines and 
valleys from rugged stony hills. 

The soil is barren and rocky, but there is a perennial water 
supply from the hill streams and the Rukuba river. Tin and a very 
little gold has been found, whilst the natives are good iron- workers. 

The Rukuba District proper has an area of 150 square miles, 
and the total population in Bauchi Province is probably 11,720. 
Some six hundred are situated in the neighbouring (southern 
Division) of Zaria Province, possibly the original location, for 
those on the plateau claim to have migrated thither from the 
west some two hundred years ago. 

The name " Rukuba " signifies people who live in the " rocks," 
a suitable cognomen, as their houses are scattered amongst them. 
The compounds and towns are surrounded by thick cactus hedges. 

They were first visited in 1905, at which time they would kill 
a stranger at sight. They were essentially horsemen, and relied 
on the charges of their mounted spearmen, though bows and 
arrows were amongst the tribal weapons. The horsemen were 
in the habit of making an incision on the backs of their ponies 


and opening out the skin, thus causing the flesh to swell 
form a pad, which ultimately became callous. 

They were cannibals and " head-hunters." 

Besides numerous hardy ponies they possess considerable 
numbers of sheep and goats, but no cattle. Their principal 
occupations are horse-breeding and farming. 

The women clothe themselves in a bunch of leaves, one each, 
and insert a stick or corn-stalk in the nostril for ornament. The 
men wear goat or monkey skins round the loins. 

The tribal marks consist of a series of dotted marks in parallel 
lines from the breast to the stomach. 

Boys are circumcised. 

A suitor gives a hoe and some beans to the father of his bride. 
They have no high standard of morality. 

The dead are wrapped in grass, and their bows and arrows 
and other property are burnt ; but the arrow-heads may be sub- 
sequently recovered. Heads are shaved in token of mourning. 

Succession passes to the eldest son, or failing him, to the 
brother. The Chief may appoint either his son or his brother 
to be his successor. 

The Chawai inhabit the southern division of Zaria Province, 
where they number some 9,226, scattered over an area of about 
205 square miles, showing an average population of 50.6 per 
square mile ; as some Haussas are scattered over the same 

Their chief is descended from a Haussa line of kings who 
have ruled the Chawai since time immemorial. 

It is the custom for the Chief to wear the caps of all his prede- 
cessors, one over the top of the other. 

Those who live in the hills are more backward than those who 
live in the plains ; cloths are rapidly replacing leaves and skins 
as the customary dress. 

They are good farmers and possess a good deal of live-stock, 
including some horses. 

Some 550 Kachicharri occupy the Kauru District of Zaria 
Province. They are probably an off-shoot of the Chawai and are 
also akin to the Katab, whose customs they are said to follow. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. Hermon Hodge. 

The Chibuk are merged with the Marghi in the south-east 
of Bornu Province and the adjoining districts of Yola Province. 
In Bornu they number some 3,238 ; in Yola they have not been 
differentiated from the Marghi, where together they may be 
roughly estimated at 5,000. 


In type they are small-featured and round-faced, with deep-set 
eyes, snub noses and prominent foreheads.* 

Their tribal marks are three semi-circular gashes on each 
cheek.* % 

It is said that they are a mixture of Marghi,Burra ana Kilba, 
from whom their present language was evolved, a Marghi man 
being the first settler in the district, which the Chibuk have 
occupied for many centuries. They were driven into the rocks 
by Kanuri and Filane slave-raiders, and at one time, though 
for a few years only, they paid tribute to the latter of one dollar 
per compound, or, in the case of a poor man, 6d. worth of cotton. 
This lapsed, circ. 1872-80. 

They have a good natural supply of water in the hills, but the 
British have recently caused them to descend to the plains as a 
check on their constant raids on traders. They drink beer to 
excess and take snuff largely. Their customs and dress are similar 
to those of the Marghi, with the exception that the unmarried 
men wear a metal ring the size of a half-crown in the lobe of the 
left ear, which is removed when they marry. 

Young women wear two of these discs in the same ear.* 


AUTHORITY : Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 

The Chum are a small independent tribe, numbering 3,500, 
situated to the east of the Tangalto group, in the south-east of 
the Gombe Division, Bauchi Province. They welcome the 
Kitije Filane amongst them. 

It is suggested that they are of common origin with the Waja 
and Wange group of Tula, but this is uncertain. 

They were never under Jukon or Filane influence. 

*" Boyd Alcxandet's Last Journey." 


AUTHORITY : Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 

The Dadia inhabit the Tula region, in the Gombe Division, 
to the south-east of Bauchi Province. They number some 2,300. 

It is possible that they were the original inhabitants of this 
region, which was overrun later by immigrants from the Benue, 
from Muri Province, and from the Tangale, who, together with 
the Dadia, now speak dialects of the Tula language. 

Unlike their neighbours, the Dadia never came under Jukon 
influence, nor subsequently under that of the Filane. 

They have no markings on the face, only on the body. 



Mr. C. E. Boyd. Major W. Hamilton-Browne. 

The Dakkakarri,* known locally as Dakkarawa, inhabit the 
Zamfara district of Sokoto, where, together with the Bangawa, 
they have a population of 8,ooo.f The main body of the 
tribe occupy the Sakaba District to the north of Kontagora, 
between Rijau and the Sokoto boundary, where they 
have a population of some 31,917; who are united under 
the Sarkin Darbai. They are divided into two principal clans, 
the Lila (singular Ka-lila) and the Adoma (singular WadomJ), 
numbering 27,007 and 4,910 respectively. Their tribal marks 
consist of a series of very small cuts on the cheek, and one cut 
on each side of the face, joining eye to ear, the Adoma bearing 
a greater number than the Lila. These marks are made with a 
razor when a child is eight to twelve months old. Shea butter 
is rubbed over the skin, and three days later a mixture of shea 
butter and red earth (majigi) is rubbed into the cuts. The navel 
is also marked. 

*From the Arabic " Dakakir," i.e., " idols" or " idolaters." 

t Aliero, north of the Jega, was a strong Dakkakarri town until the 

time of Jihad, when the inhabitants evacuated it and 'fled to the Niger 


I Possibly the same tribe as that known as Domawa by the Haussa, 

who came from Bornu. 


They speak a language or dialect of their own, despite the 
fact that the majority are descended from the Atsifawa, leavened 
by a number of Haussawa from Zanfara. 

There is a general similarity of numerals amongst the Atsifawa, 
Bangawa, Dakkakarri and Kamberri ; the higher numerals 
being a corruption of Haussa. Haussa is the lingua franca, for 
though the two clans can understand they cannot speak to each 
other. "Kelinchi," the Adoma dialect, is allied to Dukanchi, 
but Lila is the most generally known. They are a brave people 
and are fearless horsemen, the Adoma especially having a great 
reputation as fighters. The mounted men are armed with swords 
and spears, the footmen with bows and poisoned arrows. When 
a man or animal is killed, the owner of the arrow chants the 
praises of his poison, which is generally a mixture of two of the 
three following poisons Kwankwani (strophanthus sarmcntosus) , 
Gautan Kura, and Cuba. 

Both sexes are splendidly proportioned, but they are back- 
ward, and as lately as 1904 had no use for coin, cowries being 
their currency. 

They are agriculturists, the principal crops being guinea-corn, 
millet, makara, tubers, gwaza, and occasionally cassava and rice, 
all of which are cultivated by, and belong to, men. Acha, beniseed 
and beans are grown by women. 

The surface of the ground only is turned before sowing, but 
big ridges are made for potatoes, tumuku and cassava. Manure 
is not used. Care is taken to propitiate the gods. When the 
guinea-corn is one foot high a pot is placed in a small hole in the 
centre of the farm at an early hour in the morning, and flour 
is sprinkled over the trees surrounding the farm ; later in the 
day a fowl is killed, and eaten with tuo ; its bones and fragments 
of tuo are then placed in the pot, together with various medicines. 
Prayer is made for a good crop, and then, only, they proceed with 
the work. When the corn has grown up, and the grain is about 
to form, water is poured into the pot. When the corn is reaped 
samples of each variety are placed in the pot, which is then put 
at the bottom of the granary, and is finally filled when the corn is 
threshed. Much of the farm work is done by young men who 
contract to do so many seasons on the farms of their prospective 
fathers-in-law. They are known as "masu-golmo," and the 
seniors amongst them elect two of their number to direct opera- 
tions, appointments that hold good for two seasons. The Sarkin 
Golmo retires immediately after the sowing season, the Ubanda- 
waki immediately before it. The latter receives, on appointment, 
a badge of office, consisting of a metal armlet, worn above the 
right elbow, to which four bells are attached. On the following 
day he gives the Sarkin Golmo sixty cowries and some tobacco . The 
work commences with the first rains, when the masu-golmo clear 
and sow the farms in pairs. Two months later they are sent in 


threes and sixes to sow acha ; and from that time until the grain 
is stored they work in gangs (gayya), each gang having charge 
of a certain ward. The regular hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 
one hour's rest being allowed in the middle. Masu-golmo, in 
their first season are not permitted to fall out, nor are they even 
allowed to drink water. A " golmo," or season's work, was 
originally valued at the worth of one goat, of a basket of corn, 
or of a large dog, value one shilling ; but, in 1906, the price was 
fixed at ten shillings. Should a suitor fail to fulfil his contract 
(which varies between three to six seasons) he is liable to lose 
the whole, but if another man steps forward and completes the 
term, and .marries the girl, he (the husband) gives him compen- 
sation. It sometimes happens, however, that the girl marries 
her original suitor after all, in which case he indemnifies number 
two for the work done. 

A youth cannot enter into an engagement until he is recog- 
nised as an adult, at the age of fourteen to fifteen. He then gets 
a young virgin to prefer hi^ suit to the mother of the bride elect. 
If she and her daughter agree, the girl brings him the tidings, and 
he sends back twenty cowries, which are placed in the bride's 
hands in her mother's presence ; the fiancee being usually from 
seven to twelve years of age. The suitor has no rights over the 
girl until he enters upon his second season's golmo, but if she is 
of age she often has a liaison with him, or with some other, before 
that time. The father is supposed to know nothing of it, but the 
mother encourages it. However, immediately before the second 
golmo commences, the lover sends a cock and fifty cowries to the 
girl's betrothed, who usually accepts it and thus closes the inci- 
dent. The bride's father has meanwhile built the young couple 
a hut, and on the morning of the day when the groom first occupies 
it, he places an i8in. long stick, adorned with vertical stripes of 
indigo, just inside the threshold of his father-in-law's compound, 
to warn off other admirers. 

When the contract is complete, several months elapse while the 
groom gets his house ready. He then sends tuo, meat, etc., to 
the parents of his bride, to be distributed amongst their relatives ; 
and his mother-in-law gives him five to seven days' notice of the 
wedding day. A day or two before this comes round she goes 
with her daughter to inspect the new abode, for which she provides 
all household utensils. On the day itself the bride is escorted 
there by her female relatives and left without further ceremony. 
An infant that is born with teeth in its mouth is immediately 
killed, water being poured into it until it dies. 

Circumcision is not practised by the Lila, but is by the Adoma. 

When a boy is twelve years old he is taken by his father and 
other males to the temple, where he is shut up for the night 
drums are beaten outside until, at dawn, the novice is dismissed. 
He is. then permitted to wear a loin-cloth (wolki) , which hangs 


down behind, and when he is fourteen or fifteen he turns it up 
in front and is accredited an adult. From that time on, for the 
next five years or so, he devotes himself to wrestling. It is of 
a very clean type, and is carried on with much spirit. A pre- 
liminary meeting is held about the beginning of September, 
but the season proper does not commence till six weeks later and 
lasts until April. After the first big meeting the wrestlers give 
sweet potatoes to the drummers. A small iron spear is carried 
at meetings, and jangling iron anklets are worn, but since about 
1909 a taste for finery has crept in, and decorated leather girdles 
and necklets of beads or cowries, etc., are worn by the men. 
whilst women wear heavv brass baneles,and coloured beads on 

J -o ' 

their arms and ankles, whilst some wear light and dark blue 
beads over their loins, intermixed with a few red and yellow beads. 
Girls betrothed to the village champions have taken to wearing 
a foot long reed, wound round with red wool and surmounted 
with two white feathers, arranged as a V, as a head-dress. The 
younger women and girls join in chants of victory for their friends, 
and rush into the ring and pour flour over the heads and shoulders 
of youths about to compete ; but this also is an innovation. In 
their last season wrestlers carry corn-stalks or bamboos with rag 
pennons, and an expert may sometimes delay performing his 
" golmo " for two or three seasons, on the payment of twenty 
cowries per annum to his future father-in-law, or by obtaining 
the consent of his own father to allow his sister's suitor to do the 
work in his place. When a youth attends his first Gayya (i.e. gang 
work), he arrives in wrestling outfit, but brings a leather loin- 
cloth in a bag. When the first stretch of work is complete, one of 
the old hands takes it out, and, after removing the wrestling 
ornaments, puts in on the novice, without checking his work, 
for during his first season a man may not stop work at all, not 
even to drink water. The next day the three or four ornamental 
patches of hair worn by wrestlers are shaved off, and the trans- 
formation is complete. 

Immediately upon death the head of a corpse is shaved, and 
the body washed, after which the relatives lay cloths over it. 
Dirges are chanted until burial, which takes place so soon as the 
grave is ready. This is shaped like an inverted T (i.e. X) three 
feet, now six feet, in depth, and is lined with stone. The corpse 
is passed through a narrow well-like opening and extended at the 
bottom, where it is laid on its left side, with the left hand under 
the head, which faces east. The elder son inspects the grave 
to see that all is correct before the cloths are removed. Then 
it is closed with a large flat stone, and is subsequently filled in 
with earth. Whole families may be buried in one spot, the bones 
being scraped to one side to make room for the new comer. Conical 
mounds about two feet in height and three feet in diameter are 
erected over graves, and these are decorated with beautifully made 


symbols, urns, and figures, to denote the sex and standing of the 
deceased. A wide-mouthed urn denotes a female, a small-lipped 
urn a male ; they must be kept full of water, because the dead are 
liable to walk at night. The figures are hollow and are made 
with the mouth slightly open, showing well-shaped teeth, while 
the head is frequently plastered with hair. The horns of a buck, 
roan, hartebeeste, or buffalo, signify the grave of a huntsman who 
has killed such animals. That of a great wrestler is marked 
with a Y-shaped piece of wood, several feet high, which, in the 
case of a special expert, has rings burnt around it. Models of a 
horse, woman and servant notify the grave of a chief. 

The burial over, the chanting ceases, but next morning 
drumming commences and continues until five p.m. The beats 
are, according to the calling of the deceased, on one or more of 
about seven different drums. 

(1) Every person receives the "Kimba," though a special beat 
is reserved for champion wrestlers. 

(2) The " Ganga " is reserved for blacksmiths, their wives 
and daughters. 

(3) Noted warriors and slave-raiders, together with their wives 
and daughters, are celebrated by the combined beats of the 
" Kalango" and " Kuria." 

(4) Hunters, together with their wives and daughters, are 
denoted by different beats on the " Turu," according to what 
animals they had slain. If the deceased had killed an elephant 
the walls of his corn-bins were pierced by an elephant's tusk at 
the same moment ; or if the slayer of a buffalo the walls of his 
house were pierced by the horns of a buffalo. 

(5) Chiefs and sarakuna were awarded special beats on a drum 
similar to the " Kimba." 

(6) Chiefs, village-heads, skilled blacksmiths, and those 
friends of the Chiefs or village-heads who had given valuable 
presents received all grades of drumming. 

The Lila share these honours with their wives and daughters, 
but not with their sons ; the latter are, however, included by the 

Infants are buried two feet deep and no further notice is taken 
of their graves. 

In the case of those who die from small-pox, snake-bite, arrow 
wounds, or a fall from a tree, the graves are bordered with stones, 
and are kept in repair, but are not ornamented as described above. 

A feast is always given in honour of the deceased, and gener- 
ally takes place one to three months after the death, but where 
the relatives are very poor they may have to postpone it for three 
years, before sufficient wealth has been accumulated. 

This ceremony is never omitted and is always concluded by 
a three or four days drinking bout. 



Fura, or the blood of a fowl, is periodically sprinkled on the 
grave, as also on the outside of the outer door, and on the inside 
of the entrance chamber to the compound of the deceased ; for the 
spirits of the ancestors retain certain powers over their descen- 
dents, and it is they who wage war with the spirits of evil over 
the body of a sick man. 

Widows inherit nothing, though they retain the right of dis- 
posal of their own (women's crop) . As with the Atsifawa a full 
brother of the deceased may not marry the widows, and if, there- 
fore, they returned to their birthplace it was customary, though 
not obligatory, for the heir to give them several baskets of corn 
each. Generally they passed to the deceased's half-brothers, 
the eldest having the first claim. 

The brother acts as trustee and father for the children if the 
sons are too young to do farm work. Otherwise the ordinary 
line of succession is (i) to sons, (2) to brothers, (3) to half-brothers, 
(4) to intimate friends. 

Dorowa trees are considered part of the farm and legatees have 
exclusive right to the produce if the farm is abandoned. If, 
however, it is farmed by some other person, the legatee shares 
the produce with the occupant. If the farm has been abandoned 
owing to the youth of the heir (and he a son), he may claim the 
right to the fruit years later. 

A man inherits his wife's crops. 

By criminal law a murderer was forced to pay two girls, or 
a boy or and a girl, of his family to the family of the deceased. 

A thief was sold as a slave, unless he were ransomed by the 
payment of a girl or a boy. 

An adulterer might be shot on the spot by the husband, or, 
if the crime were subsequently proved, the Chief fined the de- 
linquent a boy or a girl, whom he generally kept for his own use. 

Each man has his own tsafi, which may be a tree, stone, or 
some other object, which he sprinkles with fura and the blood 
of a cock when proffering special prayers. Women use the blood 
of a hen in a like manner. 

There is a supreme being, known as " Assilur," who is served 
by and who informs the high-priest as to coming wars, sickness, 
etc. There are various temples throughout the country peculiar 
to the different towns. In Dabai there are two of particular 
interest. In the Dakin Machiji (house of the snake) a horned 
python, known as " the father," lives on a heap of stones at the 
foot of a certain baobab. All sorts of snakes gather here, and 
are regularly fed with fowls before certain festivals, on which 
days no natives dare pass by after dark. 

The other temple is known as Dakin Tsawa (the house of 
thunder) . Hereditary priests attend at both these shrines and 
administer oath, false evidence given in the one place resulting 


in death by snake-bite, in the other by lightning. Suspect* 
persons are sent to both these places by the native court. 

In the town of Dago there is an important shrine, known as 
the Dakin Toka (house of ashes). After swearing falsely here, 
neither a perjurer nor his companion are ever seen again. 

A man who believes himself the object of ill-will scatters 
red guinea-corn round a Maje tree, and on the same day, or on 
the following evening, he kills and eats a red cock/ taking care 
not to break any of the bones. He then places the remains, 
bones and feathers, in a hole eighteen inches deep at the foot 
of the tree, removes all his clothes, utters loud lamentations, 
strips some bark off the tree and fills in the hole. He then dries 
the bark and eats it, either by itself or in soup ; believing that 
even as the cock has died, so will his enemy. 

Sometimes the inmates of a house dry and hang up within 
the entrance to their huts, a dark variety of ramma, to keep 
out evil spirits. This is especially done where a place has a 
doubtful reputation. 


The Dampar are an off-shoot of the Jukon. They are situated 
in the Ibi Division of Muri Province, and number some 1,783. 


Darorp were the original inhabitants of the country in the 
immediate vicinity of Jemaa, Nassarawa Province, and par- 
ticularly of the hill Daroro, from which, perhaps, they derived 
their name. 

They were conquered and driven out by the Filane, circ. 
1805-1810 A.D. Nimdam being now the only town in their 
occupation. It is under the Emir of Jemaa. 


The Dazawa have a population of 220 in the Bauchi Emirate, 
whither they are said to have come from Kulum in Gombe. 

Their language somewhat resembles Bolewa, and they are 
said to be of Bolewa origin. 

Their tribal marks resemble those of the Bolewa, consisting 
of five vertical cuts on each cheek. 



AUTHORITY : Capt. T. W. P. Dyer. 

The Denawa, Germawa, and Kirifawa are intermixed, 
speaking languages which, though not identical, are mutually 
comprehensible ; and bearing tribal marks consisting of fine 
vertical cuts on each cheek from the temples to the lips, and, 
in the case of the Germawa, additional short vertical incisions 
close to the nostril. 

Both language and tribal marks are similar to those of the 
Bolewa (western branch), and the latter to the Kanuri (Bauchi). 

The Denawa and Kirifawa are described as pagans of the 
Kirifi uplands, where the former still live in small hamlets with 
a population of 7440. The latter have now descended from 
their hill homes on the right bank of the upper reaches of the 
Gongola River to the plain below, where they have a population 
of 3,620. 

The Germawa are situated in the adjacent district of Lemme. 
whence some migrated to Jemaa near Gombe in search of new 
territory, where they now have a population of some 886. The 
majority, i.e., 7,510, have remained in Bauchi Emirate; and 
they have an offset, the Gamsawa, who number some 165. 

All three groups are in the Bauchi Emirate. 

Muhammadanism is spreading rapidly amongst Ihe Germawa. 


The Dimmuk are situated in a district of their own name 
in the north-west of the Ibi Division of Muri Province, where 
they have a population of 8,644. 

The Chief is appointed by a tribal council, who select him 
from amongst the members of the royal family. He and the 
council together appoint a headman for each village, who must 
equally be of the family of the late headman, though a son 
may never directly succeed his father ; and he is assisted by a 
village council. 

A headman, with the aid of his council, adjudicates all 
actions for debt, land disputes, and marriage questions, but 
these may be transferred to the tribal Chief and his council 
who sit as a court of appeal. 

The village headman grants rights of occupancy over farm- 
lands. The farmer is expected to give a sheep to the headman 
every three years. Should he fail to do so he is usually given 
a year's grace and then evicted. When the occupier dies his 
holding passes to his sons, whom the headman confirms 


in their right of occupancy. If they are infants the mother 
acts as trustee. 

Their customs are said to be similar to those of their neigh- 
bours, the Mirriam and Kwoll. 

Their origin is unknown, but they may be found to be of 
the same stock as the Angas, Ankwe, Montol and Sura group. 


The Duguzawa are a small community numbering 275 persons 
in Bauchi Emirate. 


Mr. C. E. Boyd. Mr. J. C. O. Clarke. 

The Dukawa are akin to the Kamberri. They speak a language 
which has much in common with Kamberri, and is mutually 
comprehensible to both peoples. 

The Dukawa tribal marks consist of sixteen lines on each 
cheek and sixteen lines by each of the eyes. Both men and women 
are marked thus. There are some 730 Dukawa in the Sakaba 
Division of Kontagora Province, whose customs and beliefs 
are similar to those of their Dakkakarri neighbours, but the 
main body are located in the north-east of the Yelwa Division 
of Kontagora Province, in hilly, rocky country, though some 
have been notified from Sokoto. 

They recognised the Sarkin Yauri as their overlord and 
paid a small tribute to him. He appointed a Yauri man to 
be their district head. 

The towns are surrounded by strong walls, some ten feet 
in height, with holes pierced in them for guns and arrows. Moats 
six or seven feet deep encircle the walls and some three hundred 
yards outside these there is another trench, two feet deep, 
surmounted by low walls, on which a prickly thorn (Gardenia 
thunbergia), is planted. 

Bows and poisoned arrows, which are shot with fair accuracy 
to a distance of fifty or sixty yards, are the principal weapons. 
The arrows are sometimes fired out of a gun (sango) this is 
always the case in elephant hunting. The Dukawa do not use 
shields. It is noteworthy that the Dukawa and Kamberri never 
fought or raided with each other. 

Even the town dwellers had extensive farms in the bush, 
where they resided for a certain part of the year and kept con- 


siderable numbers of goats. The principal crops grown and 
owned by men only are guinea-corn, millet, makari (Egyptian 
corn), tubers, gwaza, and occasionally cassava and rice. The 
former is used for beer making, but this is only drunk at feasts. 
Women cultivate acha, beans and beniseed. Ramma fibre and 
cotton is also grown, the latter being sold to Haussa traders. 
A considerable trade is done with the fruit of .the shea-butter 
tree. Tobacco is raised, the people being great smokers and 
snuff-takers. They have a good knowledge of medicine, and 
decayed teeth are stopped,* though not very efficiently. 

Little fishing is done, though the women sometimes set traps 
or dam the pools so that the fish are left high and dry. 

Iron is bought and smithied locally. 

Skins are tanned. The hair is removed with ashes and the 
skin bleached with the seed and bark of the ' bagarua," an 
acacia (probably Arabica or Nilotica). The men hunt, but n ever 
pursue lion or giraffe. 

Neither weaving nor dyeing is done, for the women still 
wear bunches of leaves, and men leather loin-cloths as their 
ordinary clothing. A few men possess gowns,, and successful 
hunters and warriors wear a black shirt, together with bracelets 
of the skins of their victims. Small brass rings are worn in the 
lips and ear-ornaments of red stone, red silk, or guinea-corr^ 
stalks by the women. 

In physique they are a fine race, the men averaging 5 ft. 
ii ins. in height, the women 5 ft. 9 ins. 

On the day of birth an old woman comes and attends the 
mother and child for three days, after which the father returns. 
A miniature bow and arrow is hung at the door, and hunting, 
farming, or bandit songs are sung in the presence of the infant, 
according as to which of those three professions has been chosen 
for it. Small presents are given to the grandmother of the 
child, who, if a boy, is named after either of its grandfathers. 
If a child were born with teeth water was forced into its mouth 
until it died. 

Circumcision is not practised, with few exceptions. 

When a boy is five years old his father buys and puts away 
antimony for him, which he will presently have to give as a 
wedding gift. When he has reached wrestling age his father 
gives him a cloth and some land to farm, where the boy grows 
beniseed for the next seven years, as he has to fill twenty-two 
calabashes with beniseed of his growing, fried with salt, as part 
of the marriage dower. Girls and boys meet at the wrestling 
matches, and each girl is provided with flour which she may 
scatter over the head of her chosen knight. The lad's father then 
sets out to obtain the consent of the parents of the wished-for 

* A mixture of Karonfara, Taroniya and Kamua is used for this purpose. 


bride to the match. He takes a present of tobacco with him, 
if the suit is accepted the relations are summoned and the tobacco 
divided between them, and henceforth the suitor works on his 
future father-in-law's farm. When the boy is old enough twenty- 
two virgins are summoned and they carry his gifts to the bride's 
parents, i.e., the afore-mentioned beniseed and antimony, 
together with a box to contain the latter, a silk necklace, skein 
of silk, bars of brass, enamel dish and a hundred onions presents 
provided by the boy's father. His relations visit the bride's 
relations, and the groom then builds himself a hut in his father- 
in-law's compound, where he lives, working exclusively for his 
father-in-law until his first child can crawl, when he takes his 
wife to a home of their own and they are independent though 
often a period of seven years of vassalage will have elapsed. 
If he has found reason to suspect his fiancee he asks her to swear 
her purity on the god ' Mai-girro." If she cannot do so her 
paramour is fined, and if he refuses to pay his house is burned. 
The young wife is escorted to the groom's house by two 
married women and two unmarried girls, and for five days she 
takes meals with her neighbours. A feast is given to the groom's 
relations and his father gives her two hundred cowries. 

A family commonly eat their meals together, though not out 
of the same bowl, but women are confined to the flesh of antelope 
or buffalo for meat, while the men eat goats and fowls in addition. 
No one eats the meat of an animal that has died a natural death . 
The huts are small, some ten feet in diameter, with walls 
four feet in height. The furniture consists of mud beds, on 
which the people sleep naked, and beneath which fires are burning. 
They are lit by means of flint and steel silk-cotton roasted 
in the pod, and fibre being used to catch the spark. 

Five kinds of drums are in use, the " ganga," the " kalango " 
(a small drum), the " turu" (a single-ended drum), the " kimba " 
(a log drum beaten at both ends), the " batta " of ' kworria," 
with a skin across the open end and with beans inside. There 
is also a horn, which is always blown at wrestling matches. 

When a man dies he is laid out in his house and covered 
with a cloth, while drummers cry his virtues. At the time of 
burial the corpse is laid flat at the bottom of a tunnel, access 
to which is obtained through a hole in the centre, with the feet 
to the west. A flat stone is laid on the top, and objects applicable 
to his calling are laid on the grave, i.e., horns symbolic of 
a hunter, etc. The Sarkin Mutua, the grave-digger, receives 
presents from the mourners and a feast is held. If the deceased 
were a young man (warrior) a leopard skin and bells are hung 
on the post at the entrance to his house, and men of his own 
age dance round it, while the drummers chant his brave acts. 
His bows and arrows are burned. The women wail three days 



for a man and four days for a woman, and widows shave their 
heads. Great care is taken of the graves. 

The eldest son inherits the right of occupancy to that part 
of his father's farm which is under cultivation, the younger sons 
to that part which is lying fallow. If the sons are children their 
father's eldest brother acts as their guardian and trustee. Failing 
sons the succession goes to the deceased's father, brothers, 
uncles, on the male side, half-brothers, or intimate friends each 
class totally debarring that next it from share in the inheritance. 

A widow passes to her late husband's brothers according 
to their seniority, but if they do not choose to marry her she 
may return to her own people and marry whom she pleases. 
In this case she is usually given several baskets of corn as a 
farewell token of good will. 

The Dukawa believe in a future life in a place they call 
" Andakka." There the wicked are isolated for a term of two 
years, throughout which they have neither food nor shelter. 
The good are met by their predeceased friends, who bring them 
clothes and food and beer. A dying man will often say that 
he hears his friends calling to him. For them it is heaven: 

They believe in the efficacy of their ancestors to help them 
on earth, and offer pounded grain on the grave-stone whenever 
they invoke the aid of the departed against sickness or misfortune. 

Like the Kamuku, Bassa, and some of the Kamberri, the 
Dukawa worship the god Mai-girro and present offerings to him 
when they beseech favours,, a common request being for children. 
A pot is kept at his shrine filled with " medicine." The oath 
taken on Mai-girro is really an ordeal. The priest ' Bakin 
Dodo," ="the mouth of thegod," rubsa knife on a stone and then 
washes it in water which the swearer drinks if he is guilty 
he dies within seven days. 

' Ilga"* is a god to whom prayers for success in hunting, 
for offspring, and for the sick are offered. His chief priest, 
Sarkin Tsafi, has wide medical knowledge, and great influence 
in keeping wives faithful to their husbands. When his inter- 
position is sought he receives a fee of one red goat, a black cloth, 
and eighteen calabashes. ' Ilga " resides in a cave near Duku 
and thither the Sarkin Tsafi and three elders repair twice a year, 
one occasion being when the guinea-corn is three feet high. On 
their return a feast is celebrated by all the villages, when much 
beer is drunk. No one may leave the town that day, or he 
would see a vision of four white horses should he call others 
to his assistance they would see the hoof-marks only. 

The Dukawa see ghosts, which walk at night with fire issuing 
from their arm- pits and beat people to death. 

* Compare Kamuku. 


" Alku " is worshipped in the form of a baobab tree, which 
was formerly inhabited by bees whose sting was said to be fatal. 
His chief priest is " Hazzo," Galadiman Sarkin Tsafi. A feast 
is celebrated once a year in March, when Hazzo marches out 
of Duku, accompanied by the young men of the Galadima, 
Magaji and Ubandawaki (not those of Dauda Kanta). They 
lean their bows against the tree on which " Kumba " is smeared 
and four cocks are sacrificed. The ceremony over Hazzo distri- 
butes beer. Every hunter gives him three ribs of each side of 
every animal they kill. 

Another god named " Bukun " is all-powerful in granting 
children. If a woman has entire faith in him and offers, through 
the priest ' Umerri," one black goat and a virgin pullet, her 
request is answered without delay . Oaths are sworn on ' ' Bukun , ' ' 
death resulting to a perjurer within seven days, his estate falling 
forfeit to ' Umerri/' the priest. 

A white stone, " Asharingi," is sacred fowls, goats and 
flour being offered to it through the priest ' Kadaggo." 
An oath on " Asharingi ' is binding to the Dukawa of Iri. 

The fruit tree ' Kaiwa " is worshipped through the priest 
Sarkin Tsafi, Fati of Iri. 

Another god, " Arungi," is worshipped through the priest 
Dodo of Iri. 

There is general belief in witchcraft. 


The Dumawa are a small tribe of plain pagans of an advanced 
type situated in Bauchi Emirate, close to Bauchi town. 


The Dunjawa are a tribe consisting of 395 persons in Ba 



The Ore of Awtun, Mr. T. C. Newton. 

Mr, G. C. Whiteley. 

Those Ekiti who are living in Northern Nigeria occupy the 
Awtun District in the extreme south-east of Ilorin Province- 
area no square miles, population 15,000 and the Osi District- 
area 300 square miles, population 7,500. The total population 
is therefore some 22,500. In Southern Nigeria the area they 
occupy is something like 2,500 square miles. 

They speak a dialect of Yoruba. 

Their grandfathers migrated from Ife (Benin), in Southern 
Nigeria, in search of agricultural lands, and journeyed in con- 
siderable numbers to Awtun, where they finally settled, after 
stopping awhile at Musi near Ekure, and at Bole. 

The Ekiti were subject to raids alike from Balogun AH of 
Ilorin, and from the Yoruba of Ibadan districts were over-run 
and tribute exacted, but Awtun boasts that they were never 
broken little credit, however, is reflected on their warlike 
prowess, for it was their habit to buy off the invader with presents 
of kola and slaves. Osi appears to have been the only Ekiti 
town of any importance which became a district of Ilorin, under 
an Ajele of Balogun Ali. Their disputes were appealed to the 
British Government, and for a brief period the whole of the 
Ekiti were administered from Lagos, but Awtun and Osi were 
shortly after put under Northern Nigeria, and they recognise the 
Emir of Ilorin as their over-lord. In 1884 the Ekiti combined 
with the Ife and Yebu against the Ibadans. All the Ekiti Chiefs 
were represented and formed the Ekiti Parapos Confederation, 
who, at a later date were guaranteed their independence by 
the British Government. In 1900 some sixteen migrating Chiefs 
received their titles from the Chief of Ife the Ore of Awtun 
being made President and the Olobo of Obo fourth in seniority. 
These are the only two in the Northern Provinces, but on the 
demarcation of the country thus dividing the tribal group the 
Ekiti council came to an end. 

The Chief is entitled the Ore of Awtun and, as his ancestor 
was the first of the sixteen Ekiti Chiefs to receive his office from 


Ife, his seniority is still acknowledged, presents and greeti 
being periodically sent him by the southern Ekiti Chiefs. 

Succession to the Chieftainship is to the eldest male member 
of the royal blood, and it has been said that by native law no 
Ore might reign longer than ten years. The Olobo of Obo, 
Chief of Obo in the Osi District, is, as we have seen, fourth in 
seniority amongst the sixteen Ekiti Chiefs. His ancestors came 
from Ife some two centuries ago. 

The whole of the land is now distributed and is obtainable 
only by the good- will of the occupant, who, as he grows older, 
will often allow a young man to farm a portion of his land. In 
making the request the applicant brings with him a present of palm 
wine, but the land cannot be alienated either by gift or sale. 
Kola and oil-palm trees belong to the owner of the land, and 
the man to whom he has given the right of farming may not 
touch them, though he may use other trees for firewood, etc. 

Some compounds are very large, owing to the Ekiti system 
of allowing strangers to come and reside with them. These 
strangers must obey the laws of the compound and may at any 
time be ejected from it, but they pay no rent and give no personal 

Succession is to the grown-up sons, who generally agree 
to give their uncles some small portion of the land. If the children 
are minors the deceased's property goes to his younger brothers, 
who keep it in trust for the sons. It is the younger brothers who 
inherit the widows, failing them the deceased's sons. 

Cases of death by violence are reported to the Ore, but the 
entire judicial control appears to rest locally amongst the head- 
men of that town where the law has been contravened. Murder 
and theft are the only two crimes recognised. These are first 
notified to the village head-man, who calls together the Chiefs 
of the district, and in their presence and that of any of the public 
who like to be present, expounds the accusation to them. The 
accused is sworn on iron, usually on Ogu, god of iron, or by 
Ossala, the greatest god of all. The Ologu, the most important 
of these Chiefs, first questions the accused and cross-examines 
the witnesses, being followed one after another by all the Elders. 
When the evidence is complete the public express their opinion 
as to whether or not the accused is guilty if there is doubt the 
case is adjourned till more evidence has been collected. In 
the case of suspected theft, however, the prisoners' hands are 
sometimes bound tightly behind him and he is left thus in the 
Chief's compound until he confesses his guilt, or until the court 
come to the conclusion that he is innocent after all. 

Murder by violence is punished by death. The criminal is 
tightly bound to a tree, the populace are summoned and his 
crime declared. He is then decapitated with an axe. 

TRIBES. 103 

If. however, the murderer has committed his crime by poison, 
which is hard to prove, he is heavily fined one third of the 
sum going to the bereaved family and two thirds to the head-men 
and council. 

A woman never commits murder except by poison, when the 
punishment is by fine. If, however, she denies her guilt and 
is suspected of witchcraft, a rope is bound round one foot, and 
the strongest men in the town drag her through the bush till 
she is dead. Wizards are by no means so powerful as witches. 

A male thief is fined, but a woman is flogged and warned not 
to do it again. 

The application of the above system holds good only where 
the crime has been committed by a native in his own village. 
If he has murdered an inhabitant of another town the head-man 
of that town sends to inform his Chief, and the latter usually 
causes him to be fined as a matter of courtesy, lest, if the crime 
were unpunished, a similar misfortune should befall a member 
of his district. 

In old days there was very much crime, but it has decreased 
since the advent of the British. 

Marriages are arranged for girls when they are infants. The 
father or suitor himself approaches the child's parents, and if 
they are agreeable to the engagement presents them with Indian 
corn, guinea-corn, yams, sticks and grass for the roof, goats and 
money. Every subsequent year he brings one load of dried 
yams and, if he be well-to-do, 55., if poor 2s. 6d. In addition 
to this he makes some smaller gift every three months. When 
the girl is eighteen, twenty, or even twenty-five, the marriage 
is consummated and the bridegroom gives a further present 
of i los. or i 55. These payments are made by the suitor's 
father if the boy is still living in his compound, otherwise he 
pays them himself. There is no intermarriage between members 
of the same family, but within the compound all the women are 
common to all the men, except to their own sons. 

Divorce is unusual and in many towns is forbidden, whilst 
prostitution outside the above mentioned limits is regarded 
as a grave offence. In the town of Ekan a woman may only 
leave her husband to enter the Chief's harem. 

A girl is not permitted to reject any husband chosen for 
her by her parents, except in the case of a man physically or 
morally unsound. Since the advent of the British there have 
been a few isolated cases of rejection based on other grounds. 
A man may have one wife, or ten wives the Ore himself has 
a hundred. 

The first wife takes precedence over all the rest, and one or 
two are usually deputed to live with her and wait upon her. 
The rest have each their own apartments. They can either mess 
together or apart as they like the husband may join them, but 


more usually a man does not care to do so. The women do not 
work upon the farms, much less may they own lands, but they 
trade freely and may keep whatever money they earn. Their 
property goes back to their own fathers on their death. Their 
principal industries are weaving and spinning, in addition to 
which the}' make fou-fou and cook. 

A very ancient custom among the Ekiti, as amongst the 
Nupe from the River Gurara to Awtun, and from the Yagba 
to Ilorin, is one whereby a wealthy woman may go through 
a form of marriage with one or several young girls, whether 
she herself is normally married or not. The usual form of marriage 
is gone though, i.e., if the woman desires a certain young girl 
she would approach the father and they would resort to Akokerri 
to discover if the auspices were favourable to the marriage. 
As a rule the girl would be quite a young child say seven to 
nine years old. If the Akokerri 'allows the marriage, the usual 
' Wasa " is gone through, and the dowry or present ordered to 
be paid by Akokerri is handed over to the girl's father. It is 
usually about 153. to 253., together with a certain amount of 
yams or other farm produce, no heavy dowries being paid among 
Ekitis and Yagbas. The ' marriage " thus being arranged, 
the girl will usually be kept in her father's house until of marriage- 
able age, during which period the ' woman husband " would 
give the girl ' dashes" every now and then of cloth. 

When the bride is marriageable, further ' Wasa " is gone 
through, and she goes to her ' husband's ;) house and in future 
works for her. 

The ' woman husband" now seeks a husband for the girl, 
and fixes on a particular man after the usual " akokerri," the 
girl having no choice at all in that matter. The husband pays 
no dowry, but makes gifts of firewood, yams, etc., to the woman 
at intervals and works upon her farm. Nor is the girl taken to 
the new husband's house, but he comes to her. In some cases, 
however, there is reason to believe that promiscuous connection 
is allowed on payment of a present. 

All children of the new marriage belong to the ' woman 
husband," in the same manner as if they were her own offspring. 
Their mother continues to live in her house and work for her. 

Such women are never allowed to marry elsewhere than at 
the dictation of their ' woman husband," who may, however, 
divorce them. If they are discontented with their lot their only 
course is to run away. If they run to a man of the same tribe 
no attempt is made to obtain the girl or the dowry back, but all 
children of these fresh marriages would be claimed by the " woman 
husband." But if, for example, an Awtun girl runs away to 
Igbwona country, all claims on the children are surrendered 
and the customary Native Court dowry of 5 or 7 los. for a 
virgin is obtained through the ordinary Court channels. Pagan 

TRIBES. 105 

Yorubas rarely, if ever, make a fuss about their women running 
away to a man of the same tribe ; all they claim is the children 
of such a new union. 

It seems probable that the custom is a survival of the old 
system of slave-breeding, nor is it unfavourably regarded, for 
both civil and religious Chiefs freely give their daughters in 
marriage to a woman, and the girls consider themselves better 
off than they would be in the hands of an ordinary husband. 

A kindred custom is one that permits a childless wife to 
" marry " a virgin, whom she gives to her husband, that she 
may thus have children of her own, though by proxy, on the 
parallel of Sarah who gave her handmaiden, Hagar, to Abraham. 

When a girl is seven years old an operation is performed 
to remove the clyteris from the vagina. 

The Ekiti say that there is no future state, that the dead 
are neither re-born to this world, nor is there another. Some 
people claim to see ghosts, but the Ore does not himself believe 
in them. 

They sacrifice to eight gods, each of whom is worshipped 
first in the compounds, and then outside in the bush amidst a 
circle of oil-palm trees and stones. Each of these gods has his 
own high-priest, an hereditary office which goes to the eldest 
male of the priestly family. Seven of the gods are only worshipped 
once a year at stated times, first in the compounds where much 
liquor is consumed, and then both men and women repair to 
the bush shrine, amid beating of drums and dancing, the women 
first taking the cloth with which they bind their heads and 
winding it round their loins. 

1. Ossalla* is the principal god and his festival is held at the 
beginning of the rains. The head-men of towns bring cows, 
other men goats, and women and children kola nuts and palm-oil 
biscuits to sacrifice to him. They pray for a good year in health, 
crops, fertility, etc. The high priest is called " Alasshe." 

2. Ogu* is connected with iron, and oath is commonly made 
by him. He is the only god whose worship is debarred to women, 
with the exception of butchers' women, who may offer kola 
nuts to him. The men kill a dog and offer kola nuts and palm 
wine. His festival is held in February and men pray to him 
for children. 

3. Olufon (fon being pronounced as in French) is worshipped 
in January dogs, kola nuts, palm wine and palm-oil biscuits 
are offered to him. His properties are to avert bad sickness 
and to give children. Only those women who want children 
pray to him. 

* Compare Yoruba. 


4. Shango,* the god of thunder and lightning, is prayed to 
to avert lightning from striking them. His festival is held in 
February, beginning some ten days after that of Ogu, but each 
town celebrates it on a different day. Rams, fou-fou, palm-oil 
and bitter kolas are offered to him. " Babba-Magba " is the 

5. Olua's festival is held in March. Dogs, goats, palm-oil 
biscuits and kola nuts are sacrificed to him, and prayers are 
made that he should avert sickness. 

6. Alashi also is petitioned to avert illness. His festival is 
in January, when goats, kola, palm wine, and cooked Indian 
corn is offered to him. 

7. Ayau is worshipped in January, thirteen days after Alashi, 
and he is besought both for long life and for children. Dogs, 
kola nuts, and palm wine are offered to him. 

8. Oshun is the god of small-pox, and he alone of all the gods 
is prayed to at any and all seasons, though more by women than 
by men. A pot is kept in every compound, which is kept sacred 
to him. His outside shrine is near water. Ground beans, salt, 
palm-oil, palm wine, Indian corn, and kola nuts are offered 
to him. He is also prayed to for children. His priest is " Awuru- 
woshu." A divergent account is as follows: 

' The religion of the Ekitis is pagan. The chief god worship- 
ped by them is Odui, to whom they hold a feast called the feast 
of Ogun at the time of the new yams. At Awtun the feast is 
celebrated as follows : On the appointed day each of the four 
ward-heads presents the Ore with a single new yam. On the 
night of that day, when darkness has fallen, the Ore, as local head 
of the religion, leaves his house and, accompanied by the chief 
men of the town, proceeds to a small juju grove in the centre 
of the market place. All the people of the town, men, women, 
and children, are gathered round the mound on which the grove 
stands. Amid perfect silence the Ore slays a dog at the entrance 
to the grove and enters the sanctuary and lays the corpse on 
the shrine, a thank-offering to the god for the yam harvest. After 
appropriate prayers he emerges, and the people now burst into 
songs of joy and thanksgiving, and anon disperse to their houses 
each to perform a similar sacrifice of dog or fowl before their 
private shrines. 

" Another festival common among Ekitis and, I believe, 
with variations, among all Yorubas is the feast of Egun, the 
propitiation of the departed spirits of townsfolk. These spirits 
are supposed to return at the time of the festival early in May 
and are personified by cowled and hooded figures, who march in 
solemn procession through the town, each family spirit being 
attended by a band of his male descendents, who dance and sing 

* Compare Yoruba. 

TRIBES. 107 

round him. The maidens, with palm branches in their hands, 
dance and sing after the manner of a Greek chorus, beseeching the 
spirit to make them fruitful and to bring peace and prosperity to 
the city. As in the feast of Ogun, the Ore performs the prayers, 
on behalf of the town, in the inmost sanctuary of the sacred grove, 
to which all the hooded spirits conduct him. On his return from 
the grove he announces the favourable attitude of the spirits, and 
the whole town give themselves up to dancing and revelry. The 
feast lasts seventeen days." 



Major J. E. C. Blakeney. Mr. D. Gator. 

Mr.'C. O. Migeod. Mr. W. Morgan. 

The traditional home of the Gade is between the River Suma 
Kefti, and the north-west of Nassarawa Division (Nassarawa 
Province), where they were situated before 1750 A.D. They 
say that the Gwari came to the country along time after them, 
Also that they, the Gade, have always been friends of the Koro 
and Gwandara. 

At the present day some 800 inhabit the Keffi Division, 
some 2,000 the Emirate and Division of Abuja(t..,Waku, Kujeh), 
and some 6,000 the Nassarawa Emirate, making a total of 8,800. 
They are described as being artisan blacksmiths par excellence, 
and inferior farmers to their neighbours, the Bassa, over whom 
they established an ascendency. 

Each man has a farm and may take up as much unoccupied 
land within the village boundaries as he can work, an average 
holding being two to two and a half acres. The eldest son, as 
heir, is obliged to work on his father's farm, and the younger 
sons are expected to contribute so many hours of work each 
day if required. 

The eldest son is heir to all his father's property and is also 
liable for his debts. A woman cannot inherit, but she has full 
rights over such property as she acquires, but if she. leaves her 
husband, he has the right to take half, if not the whole of it. 

The Gade are a polygamous people, and the average number 
of wives is two. The first wife has authority over any subsequent 
wives. The father has no right to compel his daughter to marry 
any particular individual, and (except in Kujeh) no dower 
is given. There is no wedding ceremony, but in Kujeh the groom 
customarily dresses, or shaves, the head of his prospective bride. 
Cousins may not marry. A woman of another tribe marrying 
a Gade man is henceforth considered as belonging to the Gade 
tribe. There is no divorce, and adultery, though rare, is not 
punishable, but a stigma attaches to the woman who leaves 
her husband. 

Seduction is almost unheard of. 

A man who commits assault must give compensation. 

TRIBES. 109 

, A thief is put to shame in a public place. 

A murderer is killed by the same instrument that he used 
in perpetrating his crime, or (in the Abuja Division) may be 
sold into slavery. 

The Gade do not keep slaves themselves, but sell to the 

A man who commits manslaughter in a passion must pay 
blood-money, or is sold as a slave, but if he can prove that it 
was accidental it is attributed to witchcraft, and he is tested 
by trial by ordeal. This consists in drinking boiling shea-butter 
from a calabash, which is said to leave a true man unharmed. 

An ordinary oath is taken in the temple, when the juror 
prays that death may overtake him and his family if he lies. 

A family is reckoned through male descent from a common 

A man cannot, however, succeed to the Chieftainship in 
his father's town, but he is eligible for the post in the town of 
his mother or of his maternal grandmother (Karshi) . 

All blood relations live together in one compound, the custom 
being for each young man as he marries to build on an. extra 
house or two and corn bins, and, if necessary, enlarge the com- 
pound wall , When the head of the house becomes decrepit his 
heir fulfils his duties, though the compound bears the name of 
the real head until his death. 

The Gade huts are appreciably larger than those of the Gwari ; 
they are not so close together, and the thatching of the roofs 
is good. The compounds are irregular in shape. The women 
wear headcloths. 

Boys are invariably circumcised and often girls also. No 
ceremony accompanies this practice. 

A man objects to stating his own name, but will wait for his 
companion to make it known. 

A god named ' Bukuni " is worshipped at Kujeh " Adan- 
gareki " in Jua District. 

A burial ceremony is held for old men only. 

A widow returns to her own family and may remarry as she 
pleases, but in Kujeh it is the practice for the grandsons to 
look after their grandmothers, and in the case of a young step- 
grandmother he may marry her. 


The Gaejawa are situated in Dass Bauchi Province, where 
they have a population of 250. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. W. B. Thomson. 

The Gamawa are indigenous to their present location in 
Fika District in the north-west of Bornu. A small number 
have spread into Bauchi Province. At a rough assessment they 
number some seven or eight thousand exclusive of their off-set, 
the Kerre-Kerre, who broke off circ. 1580 A.D. 

They are under the Chief of Fika, to whom they make annual 
payment for the right to cultivate land. 

Farms are cultivated for six years and then allowed to lie 
fallow no rotation of crops is practised and no manure used. 

Women and children may farm land, but the former are 
not permitted to grow millet, the staple crop of the district. 

A few sheep and goats are kept, but their milk is not used 
for human food. 

The flesh of bush-pig and dogs is eaten. 

The villages are perched on the top of flat cliffs, and consist 
of round huts with mud walls and thatch roofs. 

The Gamawa speak a language of their own. 

They are a pagan people, with a lively belief in sorcery. 
Hunters, from their knowledge of trees, plants and animals, 
hold an almost priestly position amongst their fellows. They 
furnish wood of special properties to be worn inside amulets, 
and produce bats' wings which, when powdered and rubbed on 
the skin, are considered a protection against certain dangers. A 
certain huntsman who lives at Ngara has a great reputation for 
power to avert the consequences of the evil eye. 

In connection with tsafi each man has a special pot sunk 
in the ground at the threshold of his house, the branch of a 
tree being placed by it. Beer is poured inside and a prayer 
offered every month. After a man's death the ceremony is 
continued on his behalf by his son. 

A child is left to choose a name for itself, which is commonly 
that of some natural object. 

Tribal marks are made nine days after birth. 

A girl is usually promised in marriage at the age of seven 
years, when the payment of a dower rising 3 is commenced. 
The bride is not allowed to leave her father's house until it is 
complete. When she goes to her husband's house her parents 
give her some gowns and 250 Ibs. of grain. Her consent is not 
asked and subsequent separation is not tolerated. 

The number of wives is unlimited and vary according to a 
man's wealth. They rank according to seniority in marriage, 
but the first wite has control over the subsequent wives and 
over stores, etc. 


A man may marry outside the tribe, but the offspring are 
considered to be Gamawa. He may not marry his wife's sister 
during his wife's life-time, but is permitted to do so after her 
decease. Cousins may not marry. Women go about with the 
same freedom as men, but they cannot be heads of villages 
or of families. 

When an old man dies a sheep is sacrificed, beer drunk, and 
there is dancing and drumming and general rejoicing over the 
long life the man has enjoyed. On no other occasion is there 
any ceremony, though a period of mourning is observed by the 
women for forty days, who wail and beat their breasts, but adopt 
no special clothing. 

The corpse is laid in a grave three to four feet deep and 
a covering of wood is put over the body to prevent the earth 
from touching it. The clothes and weapons of a man, the clothes 
and ornaments of a woman, are buried with the body, the 
burial taking place with all possible speed. 

Succession passes (a) to sons, (b) to brothers, (c) to the father, 
(d) to nephews each degree meaning the total exclusion of 
the one beneath it. When there are more than one of a degree 
the eldest receives three-fourths of the property, the remaining 
fourth being divided amongst the rest according to seniority. 
The heirs are liable for the deceased's debts in proportion to 
the extent they benefit. 

A woman's property passes to her husband and his heirs. 

The widows and unmarried daughters pass with the property, 
the only obligation of the heir being that of their support. A 
man may not marry his own mother, who passes to his half- 

In the event of there being no natural guardian, the head-man 
of that part of the village will take charge of an orphan, or lunatic, 
but by favour only. 

All disputes are settled by the elders. In these, as in all 
other cases, it is the custom for the villager to lodge his complaint 
at the entrance to the head-man's compound. The head-man 
then summons the applicant, defendant and witnesses (no relative 
may act as witness), and if he thinks the case a reasonable one 
he demands the presence of those Elders, sometimes as many 
as thirty in number, who are reputed for their sense, good charac- 
ter and knowledge of tribal law, and lays the case before them. 
The plaintiff, defendant and witnesses bring each a brown 
feathered fowl and, with a sacred knife handed to him by the 
blacksmith, cuts off the fowl's head and prays that he may die 
if a lie passes his lips. Together with the head-man the Elders 
judge the case. If they are in doubt witnesses are called to give 
evidence as to the general character of the defendant, and if 
the issue is still doubtful the accused is taken to the village 
of Guddi, where a descendant of the magician Jinja Gujeh 


administers an ordeal of earth from the grave of a deceased Elder 
mixed with water: death ensuing to the guilty. 

When a decision has been given by the Elders the wisest 
amongst them decides upon the sentence, which is declared 
by the head-man, and the whole Court publish it abroad. 

The winners of the cause give some present to the Court, 
but there is a strong feeling against bribery. 

Throughout the proceedings the Court is supplied with beer 
by the village brewers. 

It is only possible for a creditor to recover his debt by enlisting 
the sympathies of the townspeople, who together persuade 
the Elders to seize the debtor's property and insist that he shall 
pay. In case? where the debtor has not the means of payment 
he may be forced to render casual services to the creditor, but 
these do not lessen his obligation. 

A man may pledge his son for debt, when the pledgee occupies 
the position of a bought or captured slave, as against a domestic 
slave or one born in captivity. 

The former, as is the case with children and lunatics, may 
neither buy nor sell, whereas a domestic slave may buy though 
he may not sell. (Barter is a more correct term, as money was 
not in use before 1907). All slaves have property and may work 
three days in every week on their own behalf. A slave may 
not be pledged. 

It is the practice to pay for work before it is done, an oath 
being taken when the contract is made, which is similar to that 
taken when making any promise as to future conduct, or state- 
ment as to truth. A black goat is brought to a certain sacred 
tree, where a hunter kills it in such a way that the blood runs 
into a pot at the foot of the tree. Were this oath broken speedy 
death would ensue. 

The following crimes are tabulated together with their 
punishments : 

(a) The family of a murdered man are awarded damages 
up to the value of fourteen slaves. 

(6) Rebellion, death for the leaders and -imprisonment for 
their followers. 

(c) Treason, confiscation and banishment, (b and c are 
imposed by Fikan law.) 

(d) Abduction and abuse, twelve goats to the parents. 

(e) Adultery, heavy damages against the co-respondent, 
who is imprisoned if he fails to pay. (No restriction 
is placed on women before marriage). 

(/) Rape, two goats. 

(g) Assault, if accompanied by maiming, damages. 

(h) Trespass, restitution in case of damage. 

TRIBES. 113 


The Gambiwa are located in Bauchi Emirate, where they 
have a population of 285. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. P. A. Bent on. 

A few Gamergu, about 1,500, are situated in the Konduga 
District of the Maiduguri Division of Bornu Province. They 
originally inhabited large districts near the River .Yedseram 
whence they have been driven. They are a branch of the almost 
extinct Ma-Sa family and lived by raiding. 

They are a pagan, or semi-pagan people. 


The Gamishawa are a small community of hill pagans, situated 
in the north of Bauchi Emirate. 


The Ganagana and Dibo are two sections of the same race, 
speaking the same language with dialectical differences. 

Their origin is unknown. 

The name Ganagana is onamotopaeic, having been conferred 
on them by the Nupe, owing to their inability to understand 
the strange language. 

The Ganagana occupy the Emirates of Agaie (population 
3,500), Lapai and the riverain district of Koton Karifi. 

They settled in Jinjeri to avoid the persecution of the Zegezege 
Abuja. They are also to be found in Abuja Emirate (1,500), and 
Nassarawa Emirate (490), Nassarawa Province, whither a. small 
number migrated from the west. 

Their tribal marks consist of two semicircular lines from 
the temples down the cheek, with small vertical cuts between 
them, vide their offset the Dibo. 

They are pagans, practising a form of ancestor worship. 
They celebrate certain rites on the graves of their fathers and 
grandfathers, and in Ashera they make ' tsafi ' at the now 
deserted town of Forgwe, because their ancestors were buried 
there, though the exact spot of their graves is unknown. Their 
most sacred oath is made while consuming some earth from 
the graves mixed with gia. 


They are agriculturists, and collect quantities of pa 
kernels and shea-nuts. 

Their habitations are situated in hollows amongst hills and 
are usually surrounded by thick jungle. 

In Lapai the elders form a judicial council, presided over 
by a head-man, which is responsible to the Emir. Before the 
advent of the British, criminal law was as follows: murder was 
punished by death, manslaughter by blood-money, in addition 
to which the culprit had to provide goats for a ceremony by 
which the ground where the victim had died was cleansed by 
the sacrifice of their blood ; theft by flogging ; lunatics were 
tied up and given a medicine which commonly resulted in death. 
Seduction and adultery were punishable by fine, but divorce 

A man's property is inherited by his younger brother (failing 
brothers, sons), who in Agaie and Lapai likewise inherits every 
female of the establishment. In Nassarawa, however, he inherits, 
besides the children, one widow only, the remainder being 
divided amongst the other relatives. The heir acts as guardian to 
the younger members of the family. A woman's property goes 
back to her own family on her death. Girls are betrothed before 
birth, the dowry being worth between 8 and 20 according 
to the wealth of the contracting parties ; it is also paid in labour. 
Until the marriage is consummated a suitor is liable to be outbid 
by another, when his presents are returned to him. Marriage 
between cousins is permitted. 

In Koton Karifi a groom works for three years on the farm 
of his bride's father and also makes presents to her parents. 

Only big men are buried with ceremony. The wake is cele- 
brated from one to seven days according to the wealth of the 

The arms are bows and arrows, and knives with blades 
eight to ten inches long. 

They are a drunken race. 

A child is named by its father, who first consults the relatives. 

The Dibo are off-shoots of the Ganagana. They are pagans, 
some 6,000 in number, inhabiting the Lapai Emirate. They 
are agriculturists and practise iron-smelting and weaving. 

Though the oil-palm is plentiful in their vicinage they will 
not use it, a restriction probably due to some totem, which is 
not in force amongst the Ganagana. 

They consume large quantities of native beer. 

The elders form a judicial council, which is presided over 
by the head-man, and is directly responsible to the Emir. Where 
the council failed to come to a decision as to the guilt of the 
accused recourse was had to trial by ordeal. As with other pagan 
Nupe it took the form of gwaska, strophanthus poison, or by 
a means peculiar to themselves, the juice of a certain plant 

TRIBES. 115 

was squeezed into the accused's eye. If permanent blindness 
resulted his guilt was considered proved. 

Their tribal mark consists of a number of small vertical cuts 
between two lines that extend on either side of the face from 
the temple to the lips, vide Ganagana. 


The Ganawa are a small tribe of hill pagans, situated in 
Bauchi Emirate. They occupy the village of Gana on the western 
slope of the Gura hills. 

They practise iron-smelting. 


The Gannawarri are a large tribe situated in the Bukuru 
Division of Bauchi Province. 

They are cannibals, do not practise circumcision, and go 
practically naked, though the women wear a number of iron 
rings in front of the loins and a kind of leather brush behind. 

Nearly all have ponies and are armed with spears. They 
dig pits for defence of their towns which are further protected 
by thick cactus hedges which surround each compound. 


AUTHORITY : Major F. Edgar. 

Garaga, a town in the Kanam District, was founded by a 
Ba Jari of Gwana (Jukon). 

It lies in the furthest outcrop of the Murchison range. 

There is no known date as to when it was founded, but Gardki 
was founded by an immigrant from Garaga, circ. 1765-70 A.D. 
The inhabitants paid tribute to the Filane Emir Yakubu, without 
opposition, but joined with the Sarkin Kanam in the revolt 
against his son, since which time they have preserved their inde- 
pendence. The towns of Dada, Keram, Kwopkwoni, Lingan, 
Shiwaka, Gwamma-Daji, Yalwa, Tudun Wada, Kyanzar and 
Gwalam recognise the Sarkin Garaga. 

The tribal god was brought from Jukon and is brought out 
on the occasion of the harvest festival. The Sarkin Tsafi, ap- 
propriately known as " Tsofo," is the chief priest. The people 
believe in reincarnation. 

They use Jarawa tribal markings. 



The Gauawa are a small community of plain pagans, occupying 
the village of Gau, north of Badiko in Bauchi Emirate. 


The Gerawa are situated in Bauchi Emirate, in the vicinity, 
but principally to the north of Bauchi Town, in Ningi and in 
Ari, where they number respectively 12,465, 100, and 100, 
showing a total population of 12,665. 

Originally pagans they are now mostly Muhammadans, 
and are an advanced people. 

Their language shows an affinity to Bolewa, and is one of 
a group described by Mr. W. F. Gowers as being remarkable 
for the resemblance of much of the vocabularies to Haussa. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. T. W. P. Dyer. 

The Gezawa or Zarandawa are situated in Bauchi Emirate, 
where they have a population of 14,850, and in the Jemaa 
District of Gombe Emirate, where they number 477. 

Their language shows affinity to that spoken by the Seiyawa,* 
but they came originally from Bornu, speaking Kanuri. They 
settled first on Zaranda Hill, and gradually came to adopt the 
language and customs of the surrounding pagans. 

Their tribal marks consist of broad vertical lines on the 
cheeks and one on the centre of the forehead. 


The Golawa are situated in Bauchi Emirate and have a 
population of 230. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. W. F. Gowers. 

The Gubawa are a small and backward tribe inhabiting 
two small isolated hills close to Bauchi Town, Guru. 
Their language is allied to that of the Jarawa. 

* Mr. W. F. Gowers. 

TRIBES. 117 


The Gudowa are situated in Song-Yola Emirate. 


The Gungawa inhabit islands on the Niger in Kontagora 
Province (Yelwa District), to which part of the country they 
are said to be indigenous. It has been suggested that they are 
of ' Haussa " stock, aborigines of Yelwa and Kebbi. The 
sobriquet Gungawa applies to their preference for an island 
or sand-bank in the river as a place of residence. 

They, together with the Borgawa, are famous doctors, to 
whom apprentices go from all parts of the country. These 
apprentices remain for a term of at least three years, and perform 
all sorts of personal services for their masters throughout this 

There are surgeons, doctors of medicine and oculists, but 
no good dentists. Rich men send for Gungawa specialists from 
all parts of the country, and if on the doctor's arrival he says he 
can do nothing to help the patient, he is given his expenses and 
a small fee, but if he effects a cure he is paid very liberally. 


The Gupa are located in Lapai Emirate, Niger Province, 
where they have a population of 7,500. 

They are administered by a judicial council presided over 
by a head-man, who is responsible to the Emir. 

Their principal occupations are agriculture and weaving. 

It has been said that they are an off-set of the Gwari, but 
others maintain that they speak the Ganagana language. 

They use the same weapons, i.e., bows and poisoned arrows 
and hand-knives with blades from eight to ten inches long. 


The Gurawa are a small tribe, some 570 in number, of hill- 
pagans, who are situated in scattered hamlets in the western 
part of Bauchi Emirate. 

They are poor and backward. 



The Gurkawa inhabit an area of eighty square miles in the 
northern part of the Ibi Division of Muri Province. Together 
with a Haussa settlement they only number some 1,076. 

They came originally from Langtang, the country now 
occupied by the Yergum, but are distinct from other tribes. 

They paid tribute to the Jukon at Wase until 1900 and speak 
Jukon as well as Gurkawa. 

They have many similar customs to the Jukon, and practise 
marriage by exchange. 

Their principal god is ' Bussom,"* to whom there is a 
temple in the keeping of each village Chief. The principal 
festivals are held at the sowing of seed and at the gero harvest. 

The villages are scattered and the head-man has little influence, 
but the tribal Chief, Tiem, has considerable authority. 


The Guri, Kahagu, Shaini and Srubu tribes are situated 
in the Dan Galadima District in the Southern Division of Zaria 
Emirate. They were first administered in 1907, when the Srubu 
were described as " cattle raiders and murderers." They are 
now settling down and beginning to trade. 

They are pagans, but Muhammadanism is penetrating amongst 
the Guri. 



Mr. A. Campbell-Irons. 
Mr. H. F. Mathews. 
Mr. W. Morgan. 

Mr. J. C. Sciortino. 
Commander B. E. M. Waters 
Mr. G. W. Webster. 

It has been suggested that the Gwandara belong to the 
aboriginal " Haussa '' tribes, a claim that is so far corroborated 
that their language is akin to the non-Arabic rooted Haussa, 
and that a Gwandara man can understand Haussa if simple 
words are used. The Sarkin Kem states that the Gwandara 
were the original inhabitants of Kano, Kano being the name 
of their founder, but that when a certain Sarki named Gaiki- 
ga-Kuma adopted Islam, at the instance of Shehu Maigili, his 
younger brother, Gwandara, refused to change his beliefs and 

*The god of the Chamba. 

TRIBES. 119 

led a section of the people southwards to Gwagwa near Keffi, 
and for a long time the Sarkin Gwagwa was regarded as head 
of all the Gwandara tribe. Another somewhat similar version 
is that the Gwandara lived at Dalla (Kano), until the Sarkin 
Kano became a Muhammadan, when they migrated to Zaria 
under the leadership of Gwandara Madaiki " Girke na Kuwa." 
The Sarkin Zozo, however, told them to go further south, to 
Wukari (Muri Province), but they stopped instead at Gwagwa 
between Keffi and Abuja. The Sarkin Zozo sent a force against 
them and broke them. The larger number fled to the Yeskwa 
District, north of Kefn, while others scattered a little further 
south close to Karu. Tn Yeskwa District they were again con- 
quered by Mohaman Sani of Zaria, who drove them to seek 
shelter in the neighbouring Gitata Hills. They were in this 
neighbourhood not later than 1700, at which time the Toni 
were their talakawa, and it is probable that they were here 
much earlier. They claim to have been here prior to the arrival 
of the Bassa. Some 1,336 remain in the Yeskwa District, in the 
southern part of the Gitata hills, whence their farms extend 
close to Bagaji and Ninkoro. 

Their huts are built in a circle, connected one with the other 
by a corn-bin and approached by one entrance. The living- 
rooms are on the outside of the circle, and within are sleeping 
apartments. They have intermarried with the Yeskwa and 
adopted their customs. These Gwandara owe fealty to the 
Sarkin Keffi. 

There are some 913 in the Lafia Division, where the towns 
are built in large kurumis and are always surrounded by deep 
moats and walls. 

Other Gwandara are situated East of Abuja, in Gwagwa, 
Wosai and Aso, under the Sarkin Abuja, and there are 1,879 
in the Karshi District of Jemaa Emirate. These latter 
broke off from the main body in Keffi early in the eighteenth 
century, as the result of strife between two claimants for the 
Chieftainship, all being in what is now called Nassarawa 
Province. It is reckoned that 95 per cent, understand the 
Haussa language, an evidence of Dalla being their place of 
origin, but on the other hand it has been averred that, though 
their language is somewhat different, they are akin to the Arago, 
who are either of Jukon or Igara stock. 

Their dances and religion are similar to those of the Arago,* 
but as their customs are described as resembling those both of 
the Gwari and the Yeskwa, it seems probable that they have 
merely adopted the habits of their neighbours, -and that no 
blood connection can be proved thereby. 

* Vide pages 26-27. 



The tribal marks consist of three lines radiating from 
corner of the mouth. 

The gods are worshipped in open circular spaces inside groves 
approached, as at the town of Riri, through avenues of palms. 
A mud temple generally stands at the back and is often con- 
nected with the enclosure. The towns are often surrounded 
by cotton trees, which probably have some religious significance. 

The peoples among whom the Gwandara have settled, par- 
ticularly at Abuja, believe that they have the power of turning 
themselves into hyenas, and that their persons are always respected 
by these beasts. 

They are a peaceful people, whose average height is five feet 
nine inches. 

They practise circumcision. 

The men mostly wear Haussa gowns and the women cloths, 
though in the wilder districts the women pass a number of 
loose strings round the hips, some of which are fastened at the 
back, whilst others are brought between the legs and tucked 
into the front of the girdle. 

A fair quantity of palm-oil is obtained, and flocks of sheep 
and goats are kept. Good mats are made, those of six feet by 
three feet in size fetch is. 6d. in the market; they take four days 
to make. The Gwandara are not great pipe smokers, nor do 
they habitually drink to excess. 

The Chieftainship passes to a member of the royal family. 

A Chief is buried in his house, which is left unoccupied until 
it falls down. 



Mr. H. Cadman. Mr. C. J. Chaytor. 

Capt. T. W. P. Dyer. Mr. H. F. C. Holme. 

Mr. C. K. Meek. ' Mr. C. Migeod. 

Mr. W. Morgan. Capt. S. C. Taylor. 

Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Gwari are a large tribe scattered over Zaria, Niger and 
Nassarawa Provinces, some under independent Chiefs, others 
owning the suzerainty of Filane Emirs, their respective popu- 
lations being approximately 40,000, 41,000, and 70,000 total 

It is possible that they are indigenous to Zanfara and the 
districts stretching thence eastward to the south part of Zaria 
Province, and their religion and customs may be compared 
with those of the Bassa, Kamuku and Kamberri, who came from 
the same neighbourhood, and who carry loads on their shoulders 

TRIBES. 121 

instead of on their backs, which is the more usual custom in 
Northern Nigeria ; but it is reported from Nassarawa Province 
that they claim to have come originally from Bornu, where they 
were subservient to the Koro. 

A large number of Gwari are spread amongst the Koro through- 
out the Koton Karifi and Abuja Districts, where they have been 
established prior to 1750 A.D. They outnumber the Koro 
by ten to one, but act as their talakawa, which they have done 
since time immemorial when, as they say, they were driven 
westwards, from Bornu, with the Koro, by the Kanuri. It is 
suggested that the Koro are a remnant of the Kororofawa. 

An important sub-section are the Gwari Gangan, a very 
dark race, who likewise came from the East and who speak a 
dialect of the Gwari language. Over 2,000 of them settled in 
the Kujeh District, under the Gade. 

Another important sub-section are the Gwari Yamma, who 
also claim to have come originally from the East. 

They are to be found in the Abuja and Koton Karifi Districts, 
and amongst the Hills of Pai (3,500), Waku (2,750), Kujeh (2,250), 
and eastwards. They are more backward than the Gwari proper, 
who term them Gwari Kunu, Kunu meaning ' black," and 
though they speak the same language the dialect is hardly com- 
prehensible. Many words are said to be similar to Nupe. They 
acknowledge the superiority of those Gade and Gwari Gangan 
who occupy the same districts. 

Those that remain in the west of Zaria show a more backward 
disposition than their brethren in the Niger Province, but they 
are fast giving up their pagan beliefs for Muhammadanism. 
They are under the Emir of Zaria. 

Those who are in the Niger Province are only separated 
from their Zaria brethren by an arbitrary division. Their dis- 
tribution is from Kwongoma in the north, down the east half 
of the province to Paiko and Lapai in the south. 

All speak the Gwari language, but the dialects in these various 
districts are so different as to be scarcely intelligible. Haussa 
is, however, generally understood, and the children are taught 
it. One authority asserts that there are eight main dialects 
in the Niger Province alone, the difference being chiefly in 
pronunciation, i.e., (a) Paiko; (b) Gum ; (c) Fuka, Gini, Kuta, 
Gussoro ; (d) Galadima Kogo, Birnin Gwari ; (e) Akusu, Kwongo, 
Jimu, Guna, Gunagu; (/) Kundu, Dada, Modigi, Wuteri, Kongon- 
legi ; (g) Bankogi, Pei, Beji, Bugi, Dagga ; (h) Maikonkelli, 
Bosso, Minna. Another authority groups them into five principal 
dialects, leaving a as above, but uniting b, c, and d under the 
title Gwari Kutawa, in which Zumba is also included, e and h 
are united under Gwari Kwange, i.e., Bosso and Maikonkelli, 
Gwari Manta spoken at Manta, and Gwari Giari spoken at Kungu, 
complete the list. 


The tribal marks vary with the district. Maikonkelli and 
Bosso are alike in having three cuts on each temple and four 
on each cheek. In Fuka Gini there are two deep cuts between 
the ears and corners of the mouth, with three small stripes above 
each pair; but, generally speaking, they can no longer be said 
to form the test of a man's family or dialect. 

The marks of the Gwarin Waiki, and the Gwari of Allawa, 
Galadima Kogo, Kushaka, and of the southern division of 
Zaria Province, are distinct from those of the Kuta and Southern 
Gwari, being a modification of the markings of the Katsinawa 
Laka,* i.e., six to nine cuts on the cheek, reaching from ear 
to chin, which in turn seems to have affinities with those of the 

The first Gwari to enter the Kuta District were two brothers, 
hunters from the Abuja vicinage, who settled in Guni District. 
Their hunting camp at Zumba gradually evolved to the dimen- 
sions of a township and the younger brother Baduma became 
village-head. Dali, the present Chief, is the seventh in 
succession to him. 

Kuta itself was founded during Baduma's reign by one 
Bodo, and the present Sarki, Bayanzu, who has jurisdiction 
over the whole district> is the ninth in succession to him. 

He rules over 9,967 Gwari, with the assistance of a council 
of seven men, i.e., the Maidaiki (the most important member), 
Galadima, Wombai, Dame-Dame, Makama, Sarkin Fada, and 
Dan Galadima. There are also two councils called ' Hill ' 
and ' Plain," being respectively nine and ten in number, but 
their functions are not clearly defined and are of very secondary 

In old days the only taxation raised was Gaisua, which 
consisted of a small payment in mats and corn. 

At that time the Gwari followed the Haussa Sarkin Zaria 
and when he was driven out by the Filane continued their 
allegiance to him at Abuja. He accorded the existing Sarki of 
that area (i.e., from Gurara to the Kaduna) the title of Sarkin 

Kuta, Zumba, Gussoro, Guni and Dangunu followed Abuja 
separately, but were left to maintain their independence against 
the Filane by their own exertions, and the towns, which for 
defensive purposes were situated at the tops of the hills, were 
extensively fortified by stone walls. Kuta itself is built on 
and around a hill of considerable proportions, and is surrounded 
by a wall five and a half miles in circumference. 

Though never conquered the Gwari population suffered a 
terrible decrease owing to the Filane raids. Birnin Gwari in the 
north was founded by the grandfather of the present Sarki about 

* Vide Kamuku. 

TRIBES. 123 

a hundred years ago. He came from Katsina and obtained 
a great influence over the neighbouring Gwari, which was presently 
increased by the arrival of emigrants from Kano, Katsina and 
Zaria. The population is now mixed, for there are a number of 
Haussa (including Maguzawa) settlements. In fact the Gwari 
language is only spoken by a few old people. There are two 
eastern sub-districts of Birnin Gwari with a population of 3,000. 
One of these, Gwari Waiki, is under a Chief of an old Gwari 
dynasty (the Gwarin Waiki claim to be of the original and still 
pure stock). In appearance they are big, coarse, dirty and dark 
with square features. The men shave their heads entirely, 
and the women wear their hair high on the forehead. 

There are further in the Kwongoma Division two independent 
districts under Gwari Sarkis Allawa and Kushaka. 

Kushaka claims to be the oldest of the northern Gwari states, 
having been founded early in the eighteenth century, if not 
before. Despite its present poverty and lack of power the Chiefs 
of Allawa, Kwongoma and Galadiman Kogo acknowledge the 
precedence of Sarkin Kushaka, whilst Sarkin Kushariki greets 
him as an equal. 

The original founders came from Manta on the north bank 
of the Kaduna, which, before its destruction by Na Gwamache, 
was a powerful Gwari town. They found a Kamuku 
(Ngwoi) town already established in the hills, and were 
probably given leave to settle, on agreeing to acknowledge 
their supremacy. To this day it is the privilege of the 
Bugamma (Chief) of the Kamuku village to settle the 
date before which no member of the community may gather 
a locust-bean, and though the Ngwoi town has now shrunk 
to one small ungwa no new Sarkin Kushaka can be installed 
without the consent primarily of the head-man (Bugamma= 
Ungwama) and high priest (Kashemma), and secondarily of 
the remaining Sarakuna and Fadawaof the Ngwoi. The selection 
is first made by the Galadima, Sarkin Gwari, and Wombai, 
and is then ratified by the Ngwoi as described above. After 
this a general assembly of the Sarakuna and Elders is convened, 
at which the Yan Sarakuna are also present, but even they are 
kept in ignorance of the choice which has been made. The 
Galadima, Sarkin Gwari and Wombai then walk up and down 
the assembly as in pretended search, passing and repassing the 
chosen candidate seven times, and refraining from looking at 
or directing their attention to him. Then at a given sign the 
dogarai and others seize him and place him on the skin that 
has been spread in the Sarki's empty seat. 

Before the Kontagora wars Kushaka could put 3,000 horsemen 
into the field, but they were subjected to thirteen, or some sav 
sixteen raids, seven of which were successful, resulting in the 


sack of the town twice by Umoru na Gwamache and five times 
by Ibrahim Sarkin Sudan. 

The rocky hills which encircle the town on three sides rendered 
artificial defences unnecessary, except at the few points that 
were scaleable. These were fortified by a succession of loose 
stone walls. On the side that lay open towards the plain the 
town was defended by a succession of walls and ditches, up to five 
in number. The citadel (ungwar fada) has alone survived. 

Amongst the Zaria Gwari there are two different customs 
as to the succession of Chiefs. By one method it passes to the 
son, or failing him the younger brother of the late Chief ; by 
the other system it alternates between two families, but in neither 
case does a Chief inherit until a full year has elapsed after his 
predecessor's death. After this period a feast is held which 
lasts for eight days. On the last day the head wife of the late 
Chief is produced and bathed. She is then clothed in the deceased's 
trousers and robes and dons his sword. The people, who have 
all assembled to see her come out from the house, shout out 
that the Chief is not dead but has come back, and all the men 
salute her before dispersing. That same day the late Chief's 
eldest son is hidden away for seven days, whilst a robe is made 
for him out of nine pieces of cloth, and a cap. These are then 
taken to his house, where four young girls are massaging him. 
The townsmen reassemble and bring a ram, a he-goat, fowls 
and beer, with which they enter his house. These animals are 
slaughtered with the knife of the late Chief, and after it is sprinkled 
with blood they say ' Oh knife, behold thy husband" (desig- 
nating the late Chief's son), 'may his town be prosperous, 
we marry thee to him, do thou give him prosperity for the sake 
of his parents and forefathers. May he rule the village well." 
The elders then inform the district head who has been chosen, 
and he obtains a robe, '" rawani," cap and sandals, and confirms 
the appointment, the ceremony being concluded by seven days' 

In one village (Ligari) the acting head held the title of Miji 

On meeting a superior a Gwari will kneel down and sprinkle 
dust on his head, while he touches his forehead several times with 
the palm of his hand. On formal occasions a heap of ashes would 
be provided in place of dust, which would be sprinkled in the 
same way before the man advanced to make his salute. After 
making his greeting he would return to the ashes and repeat 
the procedure two more times. 

All these districts are administered by a council of Chiefs 
and Elders, under the Chairmanship of a head-man who has, 
however, no independent authority. In the Emirates he 
responsible to the Emir. 

TRIBES. 125 

The social organisation is in families, all of whom live to- 
gether in one ward where each man has his own house. 

Before the advent of the Filane there is no evidence as to 
what taxation existed, probably only Gaisua as in Kuta, but 
subsequently Gando and Jangali were commonly collected, 
and a Gaisua of varying amounts from different districts. 
For instance, the people of Bosso paid fifty slaves annually, 
the average value being 200,000 cowries a head. 

The administration of law varies considerably according to 
districts, but it was customary for the head-man to judge all 
cases in the presence of the Sarakuna, and a fine of cowries and 
goats, which usually formed part of the sentence, was divided 
amongst the court. Serious crime was brought before the 

A murderer in Bosso and in Kuta invariably fled and was not 
pursued, but his compound, with all its occupants and all his 
goods, were confiscated half were given to the family of the 
victim, a quarter to the head-man and a quarter to the elders. 
The relatives of a murderer could condone their share in the 
offence by immediately bringing a goat and cow to the head-man, 
which were divided amongst the Elders. The murderer himself 

A murderess was sent back to her father and remained outside 
the township. 

If a stranger committed a murder the aggrieved villager 
killed any member of the murderer's community. 

Fourteen years was the age when a boy became responsible 
for his own crimes. 

At Fuka the suzerain habitually awarded slavery in punish- 
ment for all serious crime. Were a foreigner to commit theft 
he was invariably killed. In Gini he was, however,, sold into 

In Bosso and Kuta a thief was obliged to make full restitution, 
in addition to the court fee of two cows or two hundred cowries. 

For assault a man was fined one cow or a hundred cowries. 

Anyone abroad at night and failing to answer to a challenge 
was shot. Women and boys under ten years of age were not 
tried, their relatives being held responsible. The matter was 
usually settled with the head-man. 

In Abuja small offences were dealt with by the village or 
district head, but cases of crime had to be appealed to Sarkin 
Abuja, who held both the criminal and his family to ransom for 
theft and adultery. A murderer was punished by death. 

The Gwari Yamma punished murder and theft alike by 
death, manslaughter by compensation, and rape by a fine 
of 20,000 to 100,000 cowries. 

In Kuta all land is owned by the community, and every 
village has its well-known boundaries, be they in the bush or 


in cultivated land. Disputes over village boundaries are settled 
by the District Chief in council, and disputes over farm boundaries 
by the village head-man and his elders. 

The village head-man has power to make a grant of any 
land within his boundary not already granted to someone else. 
The man to whom the grant is made will pay one bundle of 
guinea-corn the first year. Land so granted cannot be taken 
away again and is held by the grantee in perpetuity, but it 
cannot be alienated except by voluntary resignation to the 
village head-man. 

Farm lands permanently deserted, i.e., not merely resting, 
automatically revert to the village head-man. 

A man can raise money on the growing produce of his farm, 
but the mortgage of any land, whether farm or otherwise, is not 

A grant of land obtained from the village head-man within 
the village for building purposes is also a permanent grant. If, 
however, there is a debt on the house, i.e., in default of payment, 
the builder can enter and occupy it if he so wishes. The house 
can be redeemed at any time by the grantee of the land or his 

All trees are the property of the occupant of the land on 
which they grow. Trees in open spaces are the property of the 
head-man of the village, who holds them as he does the unoccu- 
pied bush, on behalf of the community at large, and trees in 
the market are similarly the property of the Sarkin Kasua. 

Dorowa, Dunia, Kadainya,* and other bearing, or good 
shade trees, may not be cut in the bush. Other trees are free. 

Rivers and streams belong 'to the owners of the land on 
either bank, but anyone can draw water. Fish are the property 
of the owners of the streams. Streams in unoccupied bush and 
water lying in fadamas are public property, and anyone can 
fish in them. Strangers, however, may only fish with the per- 
mission of the head-man in whose territory the water is, and 
a present of six to ten fish is made at the commencement of 
the fishing. Filane get permission to graze their cattle from 
the village head-man, and make a present of a sheep or a small 
cow according to the size of the herd. 

In the case of damage to crops, if the damage is not made 
good by the herdsmen, the dispute is settled by the village head- 
man and his council. The same principle prevails throughout 
all the Gwari Districts, i.e., that: 

Land is communal, and the rights of occupancy are granted 
by the head-man of the district. Though trees on the farm are 
the property of the occupier, a foreigner has no right to the 
enjoyment of dorowa trees. Dorowa in the bush are communal. 

* Locust-bean ; Spondias Lutea ; Shea-butter. 

TRIBES. 127 

All people who take up land at Abuja have to own the Sarki 
as their Chief and pay him a tax, whereas it is customary else- 
where for the occupant of a farm to pay the tax to his own village 
Chief and only give Gaisua to the local Chief. Elsewhere in 
Nassarawa a stranger is only allowed to cultivate land until 
such time as the natives of that township require it. 

In Birnin Gwari the head of the family obtains a right of 
occupancy from the Sarki, and all the family work on that farm, 
though younger sons and dependents each have little farms of 
their own. 

When no longer occupied the ground reverts to the tribe. 

Generally speaking the right of occupancy passes to the 
eldest son, brother, or father in the order named. Failing them 
the value of the crops is given to the mother, or amongst the 
Gwarin Haussa to the elderly widow. 

The mother holds property in trust for a minor. Unreal 
property is divided amongst the sons and daughters in the 
proportions of two to one by the Gwari Haussa, or, where there 
is no issue the estate is administered by the Alkali (formerly by 
the Sarki), who pays an eighth of its value to the widow, and 
something to the Mallams for their help. 

Elsewhere it is the custom for the next-of-kin in the male 
line to inherit, provision being made for the younger children 
at the discretion of the Sarki and elders. 

These practices are subject to slight modifications according 
to the locality. At Abuja, for instance, a right of occupancy 
passes on a man's death to his eldest son or nearest male heir 
if he has none the value of the crops, but not the land, goes to his 
nearest female descendant. Private property is divided between 
the brother and eldest son ; the daughter also has a share. 

Amongst the Gwari Yamma, on the other hand, the farm 
par-ses with all property to the eldest surviving brother, failing 
him to the son, the heir in either case acknowledging and paying 
all debts. 

In Abuja, however, it is the eldest son who inherits, the 
younger sons receiving small portions, whilst the widows pass 
ito the deceased's younger brother. In Kuta the land is divided 
amongst the sons. 

Should any case of dispute arise the family settle it. Failing 
sons, brothers inherit in seniority ; failing brothers, nephews 
inherit according to age and irrespective of the status of their 
fathers. If nephews are of equal age then the son of the eldest 
brother of the deceased will inherit. 

Land can descend to a female if she has no brothers, but she 
must be married, or of marriageable age, otherwise it will pass 
to the next male heir. Thus a woman cannot inherit per se. 

There is no payment in the nature of a death duty. There 
is no power of disposition over land. If a man leaves a wife and 


offspring real property will be divided amongst them in varying 
shares, but the proportion of these shares is not fixed, and any 
case of dispute is settled by the family. The eldest son will 
take priority if necessary, but if the sons' shares can be divided 
equally they are so divided. 

The widows pass to the brother of their deceased husband, 
but are at liberty to marry any man they choose. 

There is no power of disposition over personal property 
except the ordinary power of gift during lifetime. 

Wells are the property of the digger and pass to his heirs. 

In Kushaka the eldest son inherits everything, including his 
father's widows, failing him the younger brother inherits 
never an elder brother failing him the property is divided 
amongst the widows and children. 

The Gwari excel in hunting, but they are principally an 
agricultural people. 

Land is not allowed to lie fallow until completely exhausted. 
The ordinary rotation of crops being dawa or gcro, followed 
by cotton, ground-nuts or tamba. In the Niger Province 
it is reckoned that the land will remain productive from seven 
to ten years, or if Filane cattle pasture there for thirty or forty 

Grain is stored in sheaves and sprinkled with ashes to preserve 
it from insects and kept in rumbus from seven to eight feet high 
the Gwari Waiki add a layer of sticks and mud at the top it 
lasts in good condition for four or five years. A considerable 
quantity is used for brewing native beer. 

Tobacco is raised in every village and is extensively smoked. 

The women do a fair amount of farm work, except in Kuta, 
where this is not the custom. They make pottery for local use 
and the men make mats and bags of woven palm-leaves. They 
also grow, dye and weave a little cotton. 

Both sexes wear a single cloth. The men wrap it round the 
body and throw one end over the shoulder, though sometimes 
a goat-skin is used instead. The women pass it round the chest 
under the arms whence it hangs to the knee. The children go 

Where there is much intercourse with Muhammadans the use 
of the gown is creeping in, but in the houses it is restricted to 
men of position. The townships consist of clusters of mushroom 
like huts, which are generally perched on hills or in thick kurmi 
for defensive purposes. 

A large township is divided into well-defined quarters, in each 
of which there is a common house where corn is ground. The 
wives of the Chief, however, have their own dakin nikka in his 
compound. Each man has his own cluster of huts, one of which 
serves as fowl-house, another as stables, another for guests, 
three or four for corn stores, besides the ordinary living and 

TRIBES. 129 

sleeping huts, one of each for each of his wives; they are ap- 
proachable from outside by one entrance only, that leading 
through his own apartment. In the sleeping- rooms there is 
commonly a raised mud platform about twelve to eighteen 
inches high, on which a tortoise and other emblems of good are 
traced. The beds of the women are protected by a screen of 
clay, into which one or two nimbus are built for storing clothes 
and other personalities. The floors are sometimes laid with 
broken shards. For the most part the huts are small and are 
built very close together, with peculiarly thin walls (some two 
or three inches thick only), through holes in which the filth from 
the compounds is drained into the paths outside. 

The townships are sometimes entrenched behind stone dykes 
for the Gwari were harried by the raids of N'gwamache from 
Kontagora, and their mounted forces practically destroyed, 
so that the inhabitants of the plains were forced to seek safety 
in the hills. The military manoeuvre favoured by the Gwari is 
an enveloping movement either down the hill-sides, or kurumis. 

The ordinary weapons are bows and barbed and poisoned 
arrows, hatchets, knives, and a few spears. 

Marriage is arranged when the girl is about three or four 
years, of age. From that period, till it is consummated some 
nine years later, the suitor, together with his young friends, comes 
and works on his father-in-law's farm for several days during 
each month of the sowing and harvesting seasons, and gives 
his future mother-in-law a calabash of acha, another of dawa, 
and 400 cowries every year. 

At the time of the marriage he gives the bride's mother 1,000 
cowries and her father a pot of gia, after which the girl is stained 
with red dye from the Majigi tree (camwood), and becomes his 
wife without further ceremony- unless it be, as at Fuka, eating 
their first meal out of the same calabash. The husband and 
wife habitually eat together when they are first married if no 
strangers are present, but as their children grow up the boys 
eat with their father, and girls with their mother. 

The custom in Zaria (Magaji Jisambo) is very similar. 

A suitor offers the parents of the girl he wishes to marry 
a present of 400 cowries; if they accept it the engagement is 
recognised, though the marriage is not consummated till the 
girl is of marriageable age, when the groom gives a further present 
of 2,200 cowries and twelve bundles of straw to the girl's father, 
and two and a half bundles of guinea-corn to her rnother. A 
feast is given in conclusion of the ceremony, and the next wet 
season the groom, together with four or five of his friends, works 
on his father-in-law's farm for a period of from two to four days. 

A woman can leave her husband for another man on repay- 
ment of the marriage dower. 


In Nassarawa young men work on their father's farms un1 
they marry, which is not usually under the age of seventeen. 
During the period of courtship the suitor works on his future 
father-in-law's farm and makes certain payments, which are 
returned if the girl subsequently refuses him. Marriage between 
members of the same village is not allowed ( Jangella) . Seduction is 
punished by a heavy fine, the girl is boycotted and the man is 
forced to marry her. When a Gwari Yamma suit'or first proposes 
he gives the girl's father 20,000 cowries, as well as doing work on 
his farm. As the 1 time of marriage approaches he pays I2 ; ooo 
cowries, whereupon the back and arms of the girl are marked 
in signification of her change of estate, and before the ceremony 
is concluded the groom gives a further present of 20,000 cowries, 
forty bundles of guinea-corn and three cloths. 

On the eve of the wedding-day he gives the beggars alms. 
Intermarriage between members of the same family is not 

The marriage customs in Abuja are somewhat different. 
There the suitor gives an initial present to the girl's father of 
three cloths, 10,000 cowries and two chickens, after which he 
tills his farm, together with ten to fifteen young friends, to 
whatever extent is required for the next four or five years. A 
man for the first time builds himself a separate house on his 
marriage. When the bride is of marriageable age the groom 
provides two chickens, which are sacrificed by her father in 
order that she may prove prolific, and for five days a fdast is 
given to those young men who helped the suitor in his courtship 
labours. A cut is made on the back of the bride's calf to 
signify her change of estate. 

Absolute purity is expected of her before marriage, but 
if a year passes without her proving fertile she goes to another 
man, or men, in a different village. Any children she may have 
by them belong to her husband, and on his death she returns 
to his house for three months, and is then obliged to marry his 
brother, if only for three days, before she may return to her 
previous abode, and any subsequent children she may bear belong 
to him, her legal husband. 

At Kuta, on the other hand, the suitor makes his advances 
direct to the girl, on whom no constraint is put. If she allows 
him to court her he proceeds to work on her father's farm, together 
with a company of his friends. This is the first indication that 
the father receives; he does not speak to his new assistants, but 
on his return home asks his daughter which is her suitor. A 
room is subsequently set aside in her father's house where the 
young man may come by day to pay his court. Other people 
may or may not be present at these interviews. In the rare 
cases where immorality results, the man has his house broken up 
and the girl is driven from the village. 

TRIBES. 131 

A girl retains her liberty to break, off the engagement, but 
in that case her next suitor is obliged to work on the first suitor's 
farm instead of on her father V. If all goes well, the suitor, on 
the girl arriving at marriageable age, gives her father 2,000 cowries, 
a large calabash of beaten grain and chicken, and the wedding- 
day is fixed. When it comes one of his family brings the girl's 
father a large pot of beer and returns with the bride. On the 
following morning she returns to her people to participate in 
the only ceremony which takes place, the destruction of the 
aforementioned chicken. Her father, accompanied by all the 
male members of the family, takes it into his temple, and, after 
offering a prayer to his ancestors, kills the fowl and sprinkles 
its blood on the stones, sticks, or mud which form the shrine. 
Beer and food are also offered at the shrine, and the chicken 
is then cooked and divided, each member of the family receiving 
a fragment, and a bit is reserved for the groom which the bride 
carries back to him. 

This ceremony only applies to the marriage of virgins. 

It was the custom of the Gwarin Waike for a suitor to arrange 
an elopement with the girl, which was carried out on the occasion 
of 'some feast when her father was drunk. The young husband 
would presently return 'with presents to propitiate him, or even 
work on the farm. He was liable to three attempts on the part 
of other young men to carry off his bride, but if these were suc- 
cessfully resisted she was recognised as his wife. 

A somewhat similar practice prevails in the Kushaka District 
where marriage is by capture, whether of virgin, wife, or widow, 
though as a general rule, the bride's parents connive at the 
proceeding. After the deed is done the groom gives his wife 
1,200 cowries, and her parents 800 cowries, i.e., 400 for the Uban 
aure (father of the marriage), 400 for ' takalmi ' (shoes). 
If the girl was a virgin he gives a pile of cut firewood in addition. 

There is no ceremonial divorce. 

Women might leave their husbands for another man without 
penalty, but if the co-respondent entered the compound of 
the ex-husband he was liable to be killed. 

In Kuta it is customary for the woman, prior to her desertion, 
to sweep out her husband's house. She takes young children 
with her, but as soon as they are old enough to do without her 
they must return to their father. 

When the birth of a child is imminent the father goes out 
hunting and returns with an antelope or buffalo, the hide of 
which is cleaned from its hair and boiled to a jelly, which, three 
days after the birth, is eaten by the assembled guests. If he 
be a man of importance, and the child is his first-born son, he 
usually makes a substantial present to the mother. (Kuta.) 


The birth of twins* js considered a fortunate event and is 
celebrated in one of two ways. By the first both father and 
mother get three goats, kill them, and mix their blood with 
clay, with which they make a miniature corn-bin that is fixed 
in the floor of the outer chamber, through which entrance to 
the compound is obtained. A small opening is left in the centre, 
through which the guinea-corn, millet flour, and beans with 
which the bin is stocked are passed. On either side of the bin 
is a small receptacle dedicated each to a child, in which a small 
quantity of food is placed. The food, both in these receptacles 
and in the bin itself, is renewed every year, when three rams 
and fowls are killed, whether or not either or both of the twins 
are still alive. A similar structure is made on the top of the 
old one for each successive birth of twins, if they are of the same 
mother. By the second system a stone is placed as a connecting 
link between the mother's compound and a corn-bin, and is 
surmounted with a clay chest. Two openings' 1 are made in it, 
one above the other, the lower one for the eldest, the upper one 
for the younger of the twins. A small receptacle is made for each 
child on the ledge above, which is generally protected by a 
loose covering of straw. After the food stuffs are put inside 
a goat is killed and its blood poured over the structure. 
The animal is then skinned and cooked in a pot with 
the blood of two fowls, salt and guinea-corn. The flesh is 
taken out and the gravy, with the addition of locust beans 
and iboru (millet), is made into soup. The entrails of 
the two fowls have been cooked, and beer prepared. The 
whole village assemble, and, in their presence, the goat's 
flesh, fowl's entrails, tuo, soup and beer are given to 
the infants (that is to say put in the above-mentioned 
receptacles), that they may bring prosperity to their mother, 
to their father, to their mother's family, and to all the village. 
The remainder of the food is divided amongst the guests. At 
every succeeding harvest, the old offerings are replaced from 
the new crop. 

An infant is given the name of one of its forebears by its 
eldest paternal aunt. In the case of her absence the midwife 
names the child (Bosso and Kuta) . In naming it a seer sometimes 
holds a string, on which a tortoise-shell is threaded. Names are 
then called, and when the shell slides down the string the name 
then called is adopted (Fuka). 

In Gini and Maikonkelli it is named by the mother. 

In Nassarawa the paternal relatives assemble on the fifth 
day after birth, when the infant is taken outside the house for 
the first time and named. The child is suckled for two years 

* Magaji Jisambo, Zaria. 

TRIBES. 133 

and seven months, or by Gwarin Waike for three years, during 
which time the mother lives apart from her husband. 

Circumcision is performed in the seventh year, but in Nas- 
sarawa Province this is not the practice. 

The Gwari are a musical race, who habitually work to the 
accompaniment of music. Besides drums, horns, and guitars, 
they have a big stringed instrument something like a 'cello, 
and inserted in the neck of each is an iron with rings which 
rattle as they play. They have songs for each occupation, 
sowing, harvesting, etc., when they sing in four distinct parts. 
The Gwarin Waiki, especially, are noted dancers and musicians, 
and they have been heard to sing something closely resembling 
a Gregorian chant. 

The dead are buried in a diagonal position and clothes and 
money are placed on the grave. These subsequently become the 
property of the drummers who perform at the funeral feast 
and dance. The depth of the grave is, roughly speaking, the 
height of a man. Beer is periodically poured on the grave as 
a libation to the dead. 

In Fuka the grave is surrounded by a circle of stones with 
an upright stone in the centre, where offerings are periodically 

A corpse is buried on the day of death, but in the case of 
an old man burial takes place on the second day, when a feast 
is given. A cock is killed and the blood mixed with honey and 
millet flour this is placed beside the stone which marks the 
position of his head, a second stone being placed at his feet. 
A prayer is offered to him for crops, children and success in 

The entrance to the tomb is generally outside the compound, 
but the actual resting place of the body inside. There is no 
particular ceremony at the grave, but a goat is killed afterwards 
for the funeral feast. If the deceased has many sons-in-law, 
each brings a goat and a cloth and the feast continues for several 

In some districts* the wake is not held till seven days after 
death, when all the people collect and dance and sing to the 
accompaniment of drumming. Goats and fowls are killed and 
eaten and much beer is consumed for two days. There is no 
festival on the death of a young person, and no food is placed 
on his grave, though mourning is observed for two days. 

In the case of a Chief a small mud house with a thatched 
roof is built over the tomb, a small opening being left, through 
which the food can be passed. These monuments are placed all 
about the village and even at the entrance to huts. In the 
Galadima District (Nassarawa) there is a general shrine common 

* Magaji Jisambo, Zaria. 


to all successive Chiefs. Eight days after death a wake is hel 
The Chief is considered lucky if he dies in his own village. When 
a Chief dies a bullock is killed and the blood poured over hi -3 
grave. The flesh is then eaten and much beer drunk a ceremony 
that must be observed before a new Chief is appointed. 

In Kuta District an official called Sarkin Bisso is appointed 
by the Chief. His duties are to dress the corpse and carry 
out the funeral, in which he is supported by a number of subor- 
dinates. The family of the deceased pay for these services in 
accordance with their wealth. 

The corpse of an important man is dressed in a gown and 
turban, etc., while a poor man is shrouded in a cloth. 

As it is necessary that all the members of the family should 
be present, the funeral has sometimes to be delayed for several 
days. In such cases the body is preserved by being laid between 
two large fires, while the limbs are continually chafed and rubbed. 

The grave consists of a circular pit some five feet in depth 
and three and a half feet in diameter at the dome, widening out 
at the base to the size of a small hut. A grave is dug at the 
side of this hut and consists of a sort of trough between two 
mud walls some two feet on either side of it. The body is laid 
on its side with the hands between the legs, the head to the 
east and the feet to the west. Stones are then laid across the 
supporting walls and plastered over with mud. The entrance 
to the vault is also sealed. After the interment there is a feast 
and beer-drinking orgy at the house of the deceased, which lasts 
for five days. Women who die as the result of abortion, or in 
child-birth; infants who are still-born, or who die at birth; and 
those who die of small-pox or of some disease of malign origin, 
are carried outside the town for burial in a simple grave. (Kuta.) 

The Gwari believe that their ancestors are born again into 
some subsequent generation, and they believe in the influence 
of the dead on the welfare of the living, and therefore make 
propitiatory offerings and prayer? . For the same reason they 
cling to their old abodes, i.e., the belief that the spirits of the 
dead will not be propitious to their welfare if they desert the 
graves of their ancestors. 

Each man worships the spirit of his grandfather, hence 
the rejoicing at the death of an old man, who is now able to 
protect the interests of his grandchildren in the spirit world, of 
which Maigirro is the earthly director and representative or priest. 
Each spirit is worshipped in a shrine in the bush, and just before 
the rains the priest calls upon them to aid the town in the coming 
year, particularly against smallpox. Women may be present 
at this festival. 

Women have distinctive cults as apart from the men, but 
all are generally known as ' Maleka." Five tsafi are practised 
in Birnin Gwari : (i) Maigirro, the principles of which have 

TRIBES. 135 

just been described ; (2) Karuma ; (4) Allah Bungo (by the 
Gwarin Waiki only) ; (5) Bori. 

Mai-dawa is worshipped in every home, a sandy corner 
being devoted to him in each house, where libations and sacrifices 
are made to him by all the members of the household. He 
punishes neglect, but otherwise brings good fortune and is the 
spirit of the dance. His emblems are a miniature iron bow and 
arrow, an axe, pot and calabash. 

Karuma is the god of youth, courage and strength, and 
his votaries are young men only. At the end of each dry season 
the youths assemble beneath a big tree in the bush, at the base 
of which they pour gia and then run home without looking behind 
them, under penalty of losing good fortune. They have a leader 
in deeds of daring Sarkin Karuma. 

Allah Bungo=Allah of the wall, is a spirit to whom the 
Gwarin Waiki appeal when they have had ill-luck in 
the farm, hunting, or in lack of children the latter obviously 
affecting the Maigirro worship. Mai-Kunkuru, the priest 
of this order, declares the trouble to be the result of neglect 
and orders sacrifice to Allah Bungo, whose altar consists 
of a mud pocket in the wall of the house. Into this the blood 
of a cock, together with guinea-corn flour is poured, and some 
of the fowls' feathers are plastered on the altar. The god's 
forgiveness is asked and his good offices besought in the name 
of the man's grandparents, male and female. 

Women may not appeal direct, but only through the agency 
of their husbands. 

(a) Bori includes many superstitions, one of which is practised 
by the women, and results in a state of hypnotism induced 
by drinking a certain medicine, and is helpful in disease- 
it is attributed to the good offices of a number of spirits. 
It is common to many tribes. 

(b) Another is casting an evil spell over some enemy. A 
speckled pullet is brought to the priest of that Bori who, 
after receiving a fee, sacrifices it, performs incantations 
and calls down vengeance on the enemy and his family. 
The circumstance is known to them, and unless peace is 
made the accused man often falls ill and dies. 

Ordeal, in the form of Gwaska, was given by the Sarkin 
Gwaska if innocent, the man vomited and the complainant's 
property was held forfeit; if guilty, he died, and his family 
was sent to the Zaria slave market. This has been abandoned 
for another form. The suspected party must now pass 
across ashes at the threshold of the complainant's dan- 
daki = Maigirro shrine. They believe sickness would result 
had the man a lie on his conscience. 

Certain animals, such as the crocodile, python, bush cow, 
are regarded as sacred in certain towns, and are always associated 


with the spirits of the dead. Baobabs or other large trees are 
worshipped, in common with certain natural objects, such as 
a big rock, or deep river. They are probably regarded as emblems 
of spirits. 

As an illustration of the sanctity of natural objects there is, 
at Esse, in the Paiko District, a large rocky hill behind the 
town, which the inhabitants regard as their Chief, and the head- 
man is not allowed to usurp this rank. As it is the right of the 
Chief alone to have the big drum beaten within the town, this 
also is forbidden to the head-man, lest the Hill-Chief, whose drums 
are thunder, should think his right were being usurped. The 
grandfather of the present Galadima head-man was drunk 
one evening, and ordered the big drum to be sounded, that all 
might know he was not only Galadima but Chief. It was done, 
but that night there was a great thunderstorm, and when the 
people came to the head-man's house next morning he was 
lying dead on the threshold. 

In Kuta the supreme god is known as Sheshu or Soko, but 
as he is too great to take an active interest in their affairs they 
do not worship him, but devote themselves to the propitiation of 
Maijiro who can, if mischievously disposed, prevent crops from 
fructifying, bring disease, and cause persons to be bewitched. 
All important rites are carried out at night, when no woman 
may be present. Were one to see Maijiro, death or barrenness 
would result. 

A festival is regularly observed at the sowing and again at 
the reaping season. The priest ' Fatauchi " officiates in cere- 
monial garb, robed in a kilt of flowing grass, his body smeared 
with clay. Women may not be present, and were one to see 
the priest thus accoutred she would die, unless the crime were 
confessed, beer brought to the priest, and absolution obtained. 
When the Chief eats the first-fruits of the crop he practises tsafi, 
so that sickness may not fall upon his town. In the case of an 
epidemic the priest assumes his official robe and cries out, " Eh'eu, 
sickness, go, leave our village, that the village may find health," 
and when fowls have been killed and beer brought, he says, 
"The village has found health, sickness has been driven away 
and has gone ; anyone who is ill come and health will be given 
him." When the people have saluted him and thanked him 
for driving away sickness, he dismisses them and goes home. 

There is a temple in each village, which is usually situated 
in a kurmi on the outskirts of the township. The outside wall 
is frequently ornamented with different colours and shells. 
Inside there is a mud screen, ornamented with shells, porcupine 
quills and facsimiles of animals in clay, such as a crocodile. 
The priest's robe, the drum of death and a small drum hang from 
the roof, and horns, tortoise-shells, and a sling, wherewith to 
carry the religious properties, are also kept there. 

TRIBES. 137 

The chief religious festival of the Kushaka Gwari is " Amomo." 
ft is celebrated for four days at the sowing time, and again after 
the guinea-corn harvest. It is confined to men, and the ' Ba- 
dakka ' (or Maigirro) presides over the ceremonies. A minor 
festival, Raima, inaugurates the burning of the grass. lya 
(or the eldest Yan Sarki) makes ' fura," which is taken to 
a spot on the hill behind the Sarki's compound, where a libation 
is made and a he-goat killed. The flesh is eaten by those 
participating in this ceremony. 

They have a sacred sword, which passes from Sarki to Sarki, 
and which is never seen by any but the reigning Sarki and the 
Sarkin Lau (the guardian of the sword). It is kept hidden in 
a special hut within the Chief's compound and is consulted on 
important occasions as at Allawa and Birnin Gwari. Oath 
is taken on these swords (takobin Sarki) or on the sun, and 
their aid may be invoked in a recognised formula. 

Kushariki and Kwongoma possess corresponding weapons, 
the former a sword, the latter a knife, which is worn on the arm. 
These are worn on all ceremonial occasions. 

The people are very reticent on the subject. 

In Nassarawa the customs are interwoven with those of 
the Koro, as are probably their religious beliefs. 

A god named ' Shekohi" is worshipped in some parts, 
but in Abuja (Berden Sarki), and in Jangella ' Mama ' is 
the principal god. 

The temple is a grove called ' Dawiya-akun," where goats, 
sheep, and dogs are sacrificed at times of festival, or by individuals 
in thanksgiving, when much beer is consumed. In Abuja, as 
at Kuta, the priest dons a kilt of grass and represents the god 
on these occasions, dancing in a clear space round which he has 
lit a fire. Three young men join him as representatives of the 
three minor deities of ' Agorebi," ' Kakayi," and " Abwali." 
No women are allowed outside their compounds when a festival 
takes place. 

Ordeal is given in the name of Mama, when the guilty swell 
and die. 

Each individual male Gwari Yamma worships a personal 
god, or guardian spirit, whose shrine is in a special tree in the 
kurmi, where offerings of fowls and beer are made. Should 
a man fall sick a member of his family goes to the tree of his 
spirit and prays for his recovery: 

The Gwari believe in an omnipotent god, whose office is 
to punish, therefore in times of bad harvest, famine and war, 
they make incessant supplication, while in prosperous times 
they do not think it necessary to trouble. 

Muhammadanism is rapidly advancing, but as much for 
social as for religious reasons. 



A tribe called Gworom are notified from the Ibi Division 
of Muri Province. 


Gwozum are notified from Gombe Emirate. 

/ NONA. 


Mr. Ackland. Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 

Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Hona are situated in the Pagan Emirate division of Yola 
Province, in a district six hundred square miles in area, to the 
north-west of Goila, along the Hawal River on the grassy plains 
east of the main Yola-Maiduguri Road. Here they have a popu- 
lation of 4,456, with an average of 9.71 to the square mile. 

Under their tribal system they were administered by village 
chiefs (who, however, had little more authority than the heads of 
families), and by an hereditary tribal chief who lived at Gwiyaku. 
They came, however, to recognise the Filane Chief of Goila, who 
had the right to appoint the district head ; the result was not 
altogether satisfactory, and Giyaiyi, a Hona Chief, was appointed 
head of the amalgamated Hona-BurraDistricts in 1914. They are 
related to the Eastern Lala, and claim to have come from the 
west, reaching their present location some four or five generations 
ago. They are, however, said to be closely related to their neigh- 
bours the Kilba,* as also to the Burra, the languages of the 
Burra and Hona being similar, while the numerals of all three are 

They are coming more and more under the influence of the 

The compounds are situated on the base or slopes of the hills, 
at a distance of from four hundred to five hundred yards one from 
the other. 

Here the people farm, and keep cattle, sheep and goats. They 
are keen huntsmen, and are good blacksmiths, the latter being 
especially famous for their hard steel knives. 

Short swords, small spears, bows and arrows are the tribal 
weapons. The men dress in skin loin-cloths, or short gowns 
and caps, whilst the women wear iron beads over the lower 
abdomen ,f or, when hoeing, a bunch of leaves over their buttocks. 
They adorn themselves with strings of beads, and leather or 
metal bangles and anklets. Both sexes plait their hair closely, 

*The Kilba are of Marghi stock, 
f Compare Kilba. 


and when young ornament it with beads or metal at the ends ; 
whilst a few men grow long hair, which they gather into a bunch 
at the back and smear it with red ochre. 

When children first attain the attributes of a grown-up a special 
dance is held, and they are initiated to the tribe. After a month's 
purification both girls and boys must become betrothed. It is 
usual, however, for a girl to be engaged before this. The formula 
is for the suitor to bring a calabash of corn or beniseed to the 
girl's mother, and, if she accepts, he brings further two pots of 
beer, ten hoes, and two calabashes to the girl's father. Hermother 
then brews beer, whilst the young man brings some mats where- 
with to build a hut in her compound. This he presents to her 
on the occas.on of a feast and the betrothal is ratified. Co-habi- 
tatioii is allowed before marriage, but should an illegitimate child 
arrive, its father pays the young mother's father one pair of 
irousers, one cap and one goat, and the couple marry at once. 
It is more usual for the groom to bring beer and to ask that the 
wedding may take place so soon as the girl reaches marriageable 
age. If the permission is granted the groom brings a male friend 
with him, and together they take the bride to her new home. 
In certain cases the groom, after the betrothal ceremony, is per- 
mitted to inhabit the house he has just built, together with his 
fiancee, until she becomes enceinte, when a goat is killed, and the 
couple go to his village. 

In such case the betrothal feast lasts at least two days, and is 
an orgy of drinking and dancing. On the second day the groom 
dances with his bride on his shoulders, and ere nightfall her 
mother paints her with coloured earths. 

On the birth of a boy three fowls are killed, on the birth of a 
girl two fowls, and are given to the mother to eat. Twins are not 
looked upon as extraordinary. Abortion is never procured. 
A corpse is dressed in a new gown and trousers, and laid out 
for two days, during which time all the friends assemble and 
dance and drink. The burial takes place about 4 p.m., when 
the body is laid on its left side facing towards the east. The 
grave consists of a round hole, to the depth of about four feet, 
which is opened out at the base. The grave-digger prostrates 
himself on the corpse, embraces it, and covers it with cattle skins, 
ere the grave is filled in. The burial ground is on a special hill. 
Dancing and drinking continue for the rest of that day and 
the next. In the case of a person of importance the people gather 
for a similar carouse three days after burial. 

The customs for men, women and children are identical, 
except that women are buried by their own people in their native 

Widows re-marry some member of the deceased's family. 

Debt may go on for generations ; it may be assessed in live- 
stock, the natural increase of which also becomes due. 

TRIBES. 141 

Rolls of native cloth, hoes, and goats, all have a fixed value 
for barter purposes. 

Slaves are kept and may be obtained (i) by purchase from 
other tribes, (2) as payment of debts, (3) criminals, who may be 
enslaved for certain crimes', (4) wizards, and sometimes their 
whole families), (5) bastards. 

The Hona worship their ancestors, and there are traces of 
phallic worship. 

They believe in the efficacy of a certain small bit of iron, 
which is painted red, and is kept covered by a pot. An oath 
made with the hand on this pot is binding. 


The Hoss are hill pagans, situated in the Bukuru District of 
Bauchi Province. They are a branch of the Kibyen. 


Capt. F. Byng-Hall. Mr. Kay. 

The Idoma are located in the south of Bassa Province, their 
country cutting westwards into that of the Igara. On the north 
they are bounded by the Agatu, to whom the Ata of Ida gave 
some land belonging to the Idoma, on the south bank of the 
Benue River, but the Agatu subsequently encroached, made 
war upon the Idoma, and declared their independence. On the 
east, near the towns of Boju and Iga, the Munshi are steadily 
penetrating. The Idoma have become closely connected with 
these three tribes in whose vicinage they live, and in the various 
affected districts are frequently found to have adopted the 
customs of their neighbours. 

It is, however probable that they were originally one and 
the same tribe as the Okpoto, whose customs are similar, despite 
the traces of four hundred years of comparative civilisation 
through intercourse with the Apa, which the Idoma never enjoyed. 

Their language is variously described as closely resembling 
that of the Munshi, Okpoto and Agatu. The late Bishop S. A. . 
Crowther wrote that a lingua franca was spoken between the 
districts of Dama in Southern Nigeria, to Doma and Keana 
in Nassarawa (thus embracing the Idoma). 

The Idoma have a population of some 37,330. 

They were ruled by an hereditary Chief entitled Oni, the 
succession passing alternately to the representative of three 
or four branches of the original Chief. One line, however, 
occasionally waived their right in favour of another, if the can- 
didate of that other were indisputably the strongest man. If 
it remained in the same family the succession passed to the eldest 
son. No Chief had control over the other royal families. 

His duties were to appoint officers to proclaim the laws, 
enforce orders, supervise the markets and roads, etc. If a procla- 
mation were disobeyed armed men were sent to enforce it, and 
a certain number of goats from the guilty town were killed as 
a punishment . Personal wrongs were avenged by family vendetta . 

Elephants and leopards were the Oni's perquisites, and 
run-away slaves were brought to him, for whom he gave a reward 
of twenty brass rods apiece. The currency being : (i) 20 brass 

TRIBES. 143 

rods equal to 400 mounds of yams, 14 rods equal to a rumbo of 
guinea-corn, 30 rods equal to a rumbo of gero (millet) ; (2) 
beads ; and (3) a red dye. 

On the death of the Oni Imanu, in 1912 or 1913, each family- 
head was made a district head, and a Kanawa man was intro- 
duced by the British Government to act as Chief over the whole 

Both sexes tattoo various patterns on the body, and often 
colour themselves red. 

The women wrap a single cloth round them, or wear nothing 
but a loin-cloth and some beads. Girls dress their hair in two 
plaits. Children go naked. 

The men wear a cloth, one end of which is thrown over the 
shoulder. Their hair is wrought into a single tuft, or plait, and 
is ornamented by a snuff spoon. They wear a head-dress very 
similar to that worn by the Jukon and Idoma. They carry 
long knives, and their weapons are dane-guns and bows and 
poisoned arrows. Spears used as lances are peculiar to the 
Chiefs of the rear-guard. 

A branch of the shea tree has the same significance to the 
Idoma as the white flag has to civilised nations. 

A man is excluded from the rites of his sex, and is contemned 
as a woman until he has obtained an enemy's skull and been 
duly initiated as a head-winner. 

The victim must belong to some other tribe, but he may be, 
and generally is, overcome by treachery. When the head has 
been secured all the head-winners assemble at the murderer's 
township, where they dance, and for fourteen mornings and 
fourteen nights the death-drum is beaten. It is a boat-shaped 
drum, hollowed out of solid wood. On the third day a cock is 
sacrificed, and on the seventh a ram, which the aspirant must 
cut in two at one stroke. Should he fail, a senior completes 
his task, but his prowess is then under question, and he must 
produce a witness to attest that it was he alone who slew his 
enemy, and, on a subsequent occasion, must cleave a ram through 
before his initiation is complete. The deed successfully accom- 
plished, however, he gives his father the fore-part, his mother 
the hind-part of the ram. In the meanwhile the skull has been 
kept in a jar bound round with leaves of the shea tree, but on 
the fifteenth day it is taken out and filled with beer, in which the 
head-winners drink to the health of the new member. He, for 
the first time, wears a black and white cloth round his head, 
in which are stuck a white cock's and a red " aloko " feather.* 

Were these rites not to be observed in their entirety some 
dreadful misfortune would overtake the community. 

* Compare Nge. 


At times the spirit of a town demands a fresh victim 
until the head is procured the village is under a ban, and no 
dances may be held by day. 

There are many kinds of circular dances of a primitive nature. 
There is one in which both sexes participate, when a refrain is 
chanted bidding the young man seek the maid. Another is 
a sort of ghost-dance, when the performers wear wooden masks, 
some of which are painted white. Another, again, is a war-dance, 
executed by armed men bearing both dane-guns and bows and 
arrows, which they wave over their heads and presently fire 
at an imaginary enemy. It is similar to that danced by the 
Okpoto, but is wilder and more terrifying. 

The musical instruments consist of flutes, two kinds of horns, 
and three drums of different pitch. On certain occasions, how- 
ever, the human voice is unaccompanied, whilst at processions 
bell-shaped pieces of iron are sounded with a stick. 

The Idoma practise the usual trades and occupations, such 
as those of smiths, potters, weavers, farmers (they have but 
little live-stock), and hunters, and in addition they carve wood. 

They are celebrated also for their knowledge of medicine. 

A patient suffering from snake-bite is laid on paw-paw leaves, 
and for fourteen days, until the critical time is passed, is given 
no nourishment but ' kunu " mixed with medicine. His 
recovery is said to be invariable. 

A tourniquet of grass is used for the sting of a scorpion, and 
in the case of a black scorpion water from a woman's stool is 
administered to the patient. A noise is made the while to drive 
out the spirit of the snake or scorpion. 

Rheumatism, " chiria," syphilis and consumption are 
recognised diseases. 

They play two kinds of darra. One may be described as 
a combination of draughts and noughts and crosses, which 
is played with black and white pegs on a square in the ground. 

They never leave their own country, and were a man to be 
away for more than a week he would be given up for lost. 

A village commonly consists of a compound covering a large 
area inhabited by one family only. 

The head of the house and his wives each have a hut to 
themselves, the daughters live with their mothers, whilst the 
remainder of the family are grouped together, the boys in one 
hut, and as many as two to four married men with their wives 
in another. 

One reason for this is to avert the evil consequences of adultery, 
for the Idoma believe that if it were to be committed in a house 
belonging to the husband, both he and the guilty pair would 
die violent deaths, unless the gods could be appeased. 

If it were committed in some other person's house his spirit, 
would have to be propitiated with rites requiring cotton, grass 

TRIBES. 145 

and water, whereas if it took place in running water no harm 
would attach to others. 

It was, however, severely punished, the co-respondent having 
to pay a heavy fine or being sold as a slave, and the crime was of 
rare occurrence. If the aggrieved husband divorced his wife she 
had to return the dower, failing which she was sold as a slave. 
A man who seduced his father's wife was tied up in the sun 
for anyone to insult or beat, but latterly was merely put in 
stocks as a preliminary to his sale as a slave. 

All intercourse is forbidden by day, but the evil consequences 
attending it could be averted by the sacrifice of a tortoise, or 
large rat, and the offering of an egg before a certain broken pot, 
which is covered with black and white cloth, and the leaves of 
the locust bean and shea trees. 

Marriage may be arranged in one of three ways : (i) by 
exchange, when a girl of one family is exchanged for the girl 
of another family. On these occasions the groom gives his 
bride five brass rods and her mother ten ; (2) by dower, when 
on betrothal the suitor gives five brass rods to the girl, ten to 
her mother that she may buy salt, and thirty-five to her father, 
five of which he is supposed to expend on tobacco, ten on kola 
nuts, and twenty on acquiring the goodwill of his guardian 
spirit. Later on the suitor gives forty rods to his betrothed's 
mother and a hundred rods to her father, besides a gown or a 
black cloth or, in their stead, an additional twenty rods. Before 
the wedding is concluded the bride's father names an additional 
fee, which commonly amounts to some four hundred rods, but 
if the groom arranges to give personal service the payment is 
lessened in proportion. When he receives his wife he gives her 
one goat, cloth, beads and shawls. (3) The third system is by 
labour, when the suitor works for his future father-in-law for 
a period of some eight years. When the wedding is consummated, 
however, the groom gives five rods to his bride, ten to her mother, 
and twenty to her father, as well as a black cloth. 

The above payments are increased should the suitor be 
guilty of any of the four following offences : (i) of deserting 
his bride for a period of three or more months ; (2) of simulating 
illness to escape working foi his father-in-law ; (3) of sitting idle 
when his bride's parents are working in the same house ; (4) of 
showing any lack of respect to his bride's father, as for instance 
by throwing down firewood with a clatter near his house. 

A girl has no right of refusal, and if she attempts to rebel is 
coerced by being put in the stocks, and by starvation. 

Though a woman goes to live with her husband her children 
belong to her, and in the event of her or her husband's death 
are received back into her family. She is herself at liberty to 
return to them, if she so pleases, when her husband takes another 


Otherwise divorce can only be obtained by returning 

Within an hour of its birth a child is given water, in which 
the leaves of the " gode " and ' jan yaro " (Hymenocardia 
acida) trees have been boiled. Seven days after its birth charms 
made from charcoal are bound up in the leaves of the fan-palm 
and hung round the infant's neck, round its left ankle, and over 
the entrance to the hut, where a fowl is sacrificed and sometimes 
a lizard, with an offering of yams and palm-oil. 

The mother may not cohabit with her husband for one year 
after giving birth to a child, nor may she cook for him for three 
months, as to do so would be to doom the child.* Should it 
die she must live apart for three months. 

At no time may a man eat chicken in company with women. 

The Idoma dress their dead to appear as if they were yet 
alive, and speak to them, but burial is prompt, for they believe 
that were decomposition to precede interment the spirit would 
not be able to travel to the outer world. An old person is con- 
sulted as to what the funeral arrangements should be, what 
sacrifices offered, etc., but it is customary for all the people 
to assemble and shout, wail, and fire their guns. Two goats 
are killed, one being eaten by the female descendants of the 
deceased, the other being sacrificed. Its blood is poured into 
the grave, while its liver is cut into four pieces and tossed, like 
dice, on to the corpse. The way in which they fall indicates 
whether the sacrifice is accepted. Immediately after four kola 
nuts are similarly thrown to show whether the spirit is propitiated. 
One or two black cloths, a gown and some cowries are buried 
with the body, and in the town of Okeyn a calabash and drinking- 
bowl are added. 

When a man , of importance dies a slave is hung and then 
buried at his feet, that he may have someone to tend him, light 
his fires, etc. 

On the death of a Chief, two slaves had their legs and arms 
broken and were put in the grave, one at his feet, the other at 
his head. He himself was not buried until the third. day. 

The mourners are entertained, sometimes for weeks together, 
the cost being defrayed out of the deceased man's estate. There 
are special feasts on the eighth and fifteenth days after burial, 
to celebrate which the stock, yams and corn, are divided amongst 
the male, the cassava, ground-nuts, pepper, etc., amongst the 
female, mourners. A three days' drinking bout terminates 
the festival. 

No one who dies of consumption receives burial, or is mourned. 

In Yangedde, when a death occurred, every man had to 

* Neither may she prepare food for him during the period of men- 

TRIBES. 147 

undergo ordeal to prove that he was not the murderer, but 
this sentence has been commuted to drinking the water of a 
stream and swearing innocence on pain of death. 

The funeral rites ended, the heir takes over the whole estate, 
including debts, and declares them in the presence of the next 
heirs, to whom he gives any woman* he does not want for himself. 
He gives a present of yams and corn to the male followers, and 
of condiments or other produce to the women, keeping, as of 
sacred right, all the images and charms of the deceased, which 
he takes from the corpse immediately after death. 

Succession goes in the following order : (i) to the eldest 
living son ; (2) to the eldest paternal brother; (3) to the eldest 
mattrnal brother ; (4) to the uncle, eldest son of his father's 
father ; (5) to the cousin, eldest son of the afore-mentioned ; 
(6) to the uncle, eldest son of his father's mother ; (7) to the 
cousin, eldest son of the last-named ; (8) to a friend of the house. 
In no case can a father inherit from his son, or a woman from 
a man. 

The religion of the Idoma is evolved from a belief in animism, 
which recognises even so intangible a thing as the spirit of a 
market, to whom sacrifices of dogs are occasionally made. Spirits 
representing various forms of evil, are kept away from the villages 
by offerings of food and drink being placed outside in the bush, 
so that they have no cause to enter. Each person has a guardian 
spirit known as ' Ajebbi," which is represented by an image, 
and which will, in course of time, be inherited by a descendant, 
in addition to his or her own " Ajebbi." 

There are witches and wizards who have the power of assuming 
the form of certain animals ; this is called ' Agu," and these 
" Agu " skin their prey and wear it, thus enticing fresh victims. 

There are charms against everything, but they are liable 
to be rendered non-effective by yet more powerful ones. 

Muhammadanism is hardly penetrating in a few isolated 


AUTHORITY: Capt. F. Byng-Hall. 

The He commonly called the Apa tribe are of unknown 
origin. There are divergent theories that they are of Filane 
extraction , some still retaining the sharper features andlong pointed 
nose of the Filane ; or that they are a branch of Yoruba, which 
would account for the similarity of their language (Igara) to 
that of the Yoruba ; or that one tribe has intermarried with the 

* Presumably this refers to slaves. 


other, either before leaving the neighbourhood of Ibi, or 
reaching that of Ida. But whatever their origin, their identity 
is now merged in that of the Okpoto, in whose country they 
settled at the end of the fifteenth century, and with whom they 
intermarried, so that their history and customs must of necessity 
be treated together. 

The Apa, or Ife, tribe are said to have lived at Apa near 
Ibi and to have fled from the Jukons in canoes down the Benue 
about 1490 A.D., under their Chief Idoko, accompanied by 
many Haussa. They landed in the district now called Agatu, 
and were defeated and scattered there by the Jukons, who, 
not content with their victory, took to their canoes again and 
fought refugee Apas along the banks of the Benue, killing the 
Chief of the Apas at the little village of Amagedi, east of Bagana. 
One of the chief 's sons, Aiyagba Doko, fled to Auwru market, 
and camped there. Omeppa, the head of all Okpotos* who then 
occupied the whole of what is now Bassa Province and possessed 
great influence in the country of the Igbo,^ went with his people 
to meet the strangers. He did not fight with them, but escorted 
them to his headquarters at Olaji. The Jukons had continued 
their journey down the river and landed near the present town 
of Ida, whence they called upon Omeppa to deliver the Apa 
people to them. Omeppa called his people together, and, 
accompanied by the Apa Chief, attacked the Jukons and drove 
them out of Bassa. 

The battle was fought on the banks of the river Onashallu, 
and the story runs that Aiyagba Doko proceeded up-stream 
at night and poisoned the water of the river, so that the Jukon 
who drank thereof the next morning were stupefied, and fell 
an easy prey to their opponents, he himself killing a large 
number with a stick. 

He was then installed, at his request, at Ida as head-man. 
Omeppa calling him Ata (or father). 

At this time the Okpotos were a very backward race ; the 
Apas, on the other hand, had a certain civilisation, and Aiyagba 
Doko, realising the value of titles, conferred on Omeppa that 
of Ashadu (the giver of titles) , an hereditary rank bearing the 
privilege of installing a new Ata, and of reigning in his stead 
during the interval elapsing between the death and election. 
The first titles given were by Omeppa, but on his death and 
succession by Negedu, his eldest son, the Ata, divided the country 
and conferred further titles without the permission of the Ashadu. 
Thus Aiyagba Doko called in his brother, Oguchekor, who had 
fled from Auwru with a small following to the country round 

* They arc probably of the same race as the Idoma. 

f Authority Ada, a direct descendant of Meppa, and the present right- 
ful head of the Okpoto tribe. 

TRIBES. 149 

Ankpa, together with other Apa who at the same time had 
fled towards Iga, and gave them titles under his suzerainty, 
sending them back with presents and with escorts of both Apa 
and Okpoto. The Chief of Iga, with the title of Onifi, had juris- 
diction along the Benue as far as the Munchi border and South 
as far as Auwru Market, the present Agatu District also came 
under his influence, though not under his control. Oguchekor 
received the title of Onu Ankpa, and had jurisdiction over the 
countries between Lafia in the west, Auwru Market to the north, 
to the Idoma District in the east, and to Atabaka in the south. 

The Apa Chief then sent messages to the Okpoto head-men 
of lyali, Ogumi, and Oddu, and when they visited him he gave 
them Apa women as wives, and titles of Onu to their Districts. 
He thus very soon undermined the Okpoto power. He also 
sent out Apa men and gave them land and tiljes, but made them 
marry Okpoto wives. The descendants of the latter marriages 
were called Igara. But the descendants of an Okpoto marriage 
with an Apa woman were still called Okpoto. The latter, at 
the present time, generally call themselves Igara, but the proper 
Igara does not call them so. 

Aiyagba Doko carried war into Idoma country east of Ankpa, 
and extended his kingdom till his power was recognised on 
both sides of the Niger, and as far as the banks of the Kaduna. 
Over this country he appointed his slave, Edegi,* to reign, 
and he it was who, subsequent to his master's death, fled to 
Nupiko and founded the Nupe kingdom. 

Stories are current as to the prowess of Aiyagba Doko, who, 
it is said, would kill an elephant with the single blow of a stick. 
All the Igara were great huntsmen, and regularly paid the Ata 
tribute of the skins and half the meat of their kill. 

He died in 1505 A.D., leaving three sons, amongst whom 
dissension arose as to which should succeed, and for three years 
internecine warfare was carried on. At the end of that time, 
and through the mediation of the Ashadu, who had hitherto 
accepted their presents without conferring the title, it was agreed 
that the kingdom, should pass in turn to each one of the sons 
and their descendants, but that the then reigning branch of 
the family only might live at Ida. The Ashadu was to call 
in the rightful heir, and he himself held a post corresponding 
to that of Waziri for life, to be filled by appointment made by 
the reigning Ata. Thus the succession passed to each of the 
three brothers in turn, and then to the son of the eldest. He, 
however, died so immediately after his appointment that the 
Ashadu called his brother to reign in his place. Both these 

* Described as his own son in the History of Niger Province. 


left descendants, and as each were held to have claim 
succession, a fourth line was established. 

The result of this unfortunate compromise has been a sensible 
diminution in the power of the Chiefs, for a future Ata, who 
was at liberty to settle in any outlying district, would refuse to 
recognise the authority of the district head a license often taken 
by the whole branch of his family. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century the Igbira, under 
a powerful Chief entitled Anaja, had invaded the Igara and 
conquered that territory which lies in the vicinity of Gbebe. 
This occurred in the reign of Akuodiba, twelfth Ata, and warfare 
continued until, in the reign of Amaga, fourteenth Ata, the 
Igbira sustained a severe defeat. The country was, however, 
over- run at this time by the Agatu, Idoma, Bassa-komo, and 
Nge, who were driven out from the lands they were occupying 
north of the Benue by Nupe raiders, in consequence of the great 
Filane occupation. The Bassa-Komo came in friendliness, 
and were at first given land by the Ata, but on receiving 
reinforcements from their own clan, they made war on the Igara 
Onu of Igga, and, after six months' fighting, established their 
independence. The Ata was hard pressed for means to continue 
this constant warfare and, in return for their services, gave fifty 
titles to small Chiefs, together with complete independence. 

This contributed to the break-up of the kingdom, and when 
the British occupied the country they found that there was 
little combination under Oboni, but that it was broken up under 
a series of small Chiefs, who possessed little authority. It has 
recently been placed under the administration of an alien district 
head, of Haussa nationality, who has already done much to 
consolidate the country (now dead?). 

The tribal organisation appears to have been simple. 

All land was vested in the office of Ata, and a land tax was 
the only tax raised. The Ata might, however, demand produce 
or stock, but for the consumption of himself or his family only. 
He also received half the meat of game killed in a hunt, and half 
the quantity of fish caught. 

Chiefs who held their titles from the Ata were subject, in 
addition, to a death duty of half their property. These Chiefs 
appear to have exercised little authority outside that possessed 
as a head of a family. The " family >: included all blood 
relations (blood brotherhood* also is recognised), male and female, 
with their followers and slaves, and they owe allegiance to the 
family head, wherever they may be, rather than to the local 

* The bond is formed by putting blood from the wrists of the contracting 
parties on to a kola, which they then divide and eat. This done, they are 
accounted as twin-brothers and must protect each other to the death. It 
rarely takes place between more than two people. 

TRIBES. 151 

Chief. He possesses absolute power, short of death, and not 
infrequently pledges children for debt. 

As a rule each family forms a township to itself, one or more, 
and all its members are obliged to work upon the farm of their 
family head. Cases of dispute are decided by the heads oi 
families, and certain of them receive a title from the Ata to try 
serious cases, but only where their own families are concerned, 
and rulings on these have to be subjected to the Ogbe for con- 

The Ogbe is Chief Justice of Ida. All important cases are 
tried by him and lesser cases may be appealed to him. No 
sentence of death may be carried out without his ratification, 
though, he in turn, must submit his findings to the Ata. He 
is assisted by four judges, who spend their whole time on circuit, 
and who decide some cases, but send in the more important 
ones to him. Minor Chiefs appear to act as Justices of the Peace. 

The Ogbe holds open Court and all visitors act as Jury- 
after hearing the evidence each one goes to one side of the Court 
or the other, according as to whether he believes the evidence 
to be true or false. Where opinion is equally divided, the Ogbe 
gives the casting vote. The losing parties pay the costs of the 

A conviction of murder is followed by sentence of death, 
which may take place in one of three ways. In Ida the criminal 
is tightly bound and flung into a pit where he is left to die, in 
the country he is bound to a stake and, a rope being passed round 
his neck and it, he is slowly strangled. At Ankpa the head is 
struck off with a knife. 

Assault is punished by assault, and if it has resulted in the 
loss of a limb, the culprit is similarly maimed. 

Where a man has committed arson, he is himself sold to 
defray expenses; if guilty of treason, he is banished; while 
a trespasser is driven from his own town. 

A thief -has to pay twice the amount stolen, and should he 
be a member of the reigning house of Ida, is further disgraced 
by being driven through many towns with the stolen goods on 
his head. 

A man who commits rape on a virgin has to marry the girl 
and pay a fine to her father, in addition to working longer upon 
his farm than the ordinary four or five years. 

An adulterer is sold as a slave, and if he has persuaded the 
woman to fly with him and she is not forthcoming, his family are 
caught and sold as slaves in lieu of the guilty party. The woman 
would always be taken back by her husband. 

It sometimes happens that a woman will falsely accuse a 
man of adultery with her, and if his innocence is established by 
sasswood ordeal, he has the right to sell either the woman herself 
or her husband. 


The population number some 98,223. 

They speak the Igara language, which is said to come from 
the Yoruba root, and the Okpoto language, which possibly 
belongs to the Jukon family, and has only borrowed a few titles 
and salutations from that of the Igara or Apa. 

Fowls, sheep, goats, dogs and a very small breed of cow 
are kept. A good deal of hunting is done, the method being to 
extend in long lines and walk the thick bush. Rubber and 
other produce is collected and sold, and the usual industries, 
pottery, weaving, etc., practised, as well as brass-work and 
particularly good wood-carving. 

Much of the country is covered by forest, and the villages 
are situated in clearings in its midst. The huts are round or 
oblong in shape, and are made either of mud or grass, with 
thatched roofs. 

Some are stockaded, but there is little combination amongst 
the Igara warriors, who, from the cover of the forest, fire their 
dane-guns or poisoned arrows at the enemy at their own indi- 
vidual pleasure, and double back to reload. 

When they meet to discuss terms of peace, the Chiefs of 
both sides eat and drink together at once, after which they may 
not harm each other. 

A man earns great respect from his tribe by taking an enemy's 
head. He first gets medicine from a doctor to make him strong, 
price two hundred brass rods, and when trouble arises with 
another tribe goes and cuts off the head of the first man he meets 
with a hatchet. He may not disable the man by any other 
method. He brings the head to his house, beats two sticks 
together to apprise people of his deed then takes it to his Chief, 
who gives him a cock and a goat. These are killed and the 
blood poured over the head. He is henceforth saluted as '" Cha- 
chara." They do not form any society or brotherhood. 

Any man might take and farm any uncleared land, and though 
the land remains the Ata's, the produce belongs to the occupant 
a woman shares this right, but she only inherits failing male 
heirs. The right of occupancy, together with succession to all 
property, passes, on a man's death to (i) his eldest brother living, 
(2) to eldest uncle living, (3) to the eldest son of his eldest uncle. 
The heir has to settle all debts, but the claim ceases on the burial 
of deceased. 

This takes place three days after death. The bereaved family 
mourn for fourteen days, during which time they do not shave 
their heads, wash, or dress; on the other hand they sing, dance, 
cry, and let off guns incessantly throughout this period. 

The body of a deceased Chief is preserved for a great number 
of years, for he may only be buried by the Ata of that family 
which is next in succession to his own on its reaching that line 

TRIBES. 153 

for the second time, that is to say, a representative of each of 
the four royal families must always lie uninterred. 

The ceremonial is on a great scale. Twelve slaves were 
slain at the wake of the Ata (a custom that prevailed on a lesser 
scale for minor Chiefs, nine slaves being sacrificed at the wake 
of the Onu of Ankpa), each at the foot of certain trees on the 
way to the burial ground, the twelfth being buried alive in the 
tomb of the deceased. Since the advent of the British adminis- 
tration, the sacrifice of human beings is replaced by that of goats. 
The tomb consisted of a vault of circular shape, roofed over with 
thatch, exactly resembling an underground hut. The corpse was 
laid therein on a bed, together with his spear, some goats' flesh, 
and a calabash of beer. 

The mourners partake of a feast of beef and beer, and the 
ceremonial is concluded by the firing of a dane-gun, to deter the 
spirit of the deceased from remaining on earth to trouble the 
living, and to speed it on its way to some other world. 

Any posthumous child born to a widow of the deceased 
Ata or Onu is called Ata or Onu So-and-so, as they believe the 
spirit of the dead man has been reincarnated. 

The widows do not pass with the other property, but go to 
the eldest son of the deceased, who provides his own mother with 
a house and marries, or gives in marriage, all the rest. 

The first wife is the head one and has many privileges. She 
has a house to herself, while subsequent wives are herded four 
in a house; she has three women to wait on her, and she details 
all their duties to the entire female establishment and reports 
any neglect though it but seldom occurs to her husband, 
who metes out punishment accordingly. There is no limit to 
the number of wives or concubines a man may have, and no 
difference is made between the offspring. 

A woman's duty is to look after the house, fetch water, 
cook the food, and take it to her husband at his work, as also 
to carry his load to market, 

A man will often marry his wife's sister, but marriage is 
not permitted between blood relations of closer affinity than 
first cousins. The consent of both parties is necessary, but 
the suitor begins to work on his future father-in-law's farm 
when the girl is but four or five years old. The groom continues 
to work for four or five years, by which time his bride, at eight 
to ten years old, is marriageable. The suitor then gives her 
a loin-cloth and some .bracelets, and her father, money* and 
some cloth. There is no further ceremony, but after this divorce 
is impossible. 

* The currency was originally cowries, then brass rods which, though 
still in use, are gradually being superseded by coinage. 


Children do not wear clothes, but as they grow up women 
wrap a single cloth round them, and men also wear one cloth 
passing one end over the shoulder. 

The Igara are a superstitious folk, believing in both good 
and bad spirits, who are represented by idols. In particular 
there is an evil god called Opoku, and a good one named Ojinosi. 
The principal god is the god of thunder. The entrance to each 
town is furnished with a pole and cross-piece to prevent the 
passage of evil, and manifold charms are kept in the houses 
to keep away leopards, robbers, and other dangers. There are 
also many medicine-men , learned in witchcraft . Muhammadanism 
is, however, penetrating. 

Men and women each form their own circles, and perform 
rather solemn dances to the beating of drums and singing of songs, 
an individual occasionally occupying the centre, where he or 
she performs a pas-seal. 

A war dance is executed by armed men, who advance in 
line, led by their head-man, who is armed with a sword, singing 
their war songs, beating war-drums and waving dane-guns above 
their heads. As the dance gets wilder they fire their guns at 
an imaginary enemy, and the head-man dances to the spot where 
the supposed enemy has been shot, and pretends to decapitate 

These dances are essentially Okpoto and have little or no 
similarity to that of the Igara, who dance individually to the 
beating of drums, clapping of hands, and singing. 


The Igbede are not inhabitants of Northern Nigeria, but 
their towns are situated so close to the Kabba boundary that 
they are frequently to be found in that province. 



Capt. F. Byng-Hall. . Mr. F. Dwyer. 

Capt. T. W. P. Dyer. Mr. A. H. Groom. 

Mr. W. Morgan. 

The history of the Igbira is somewhat' confused, but it seems 
probable that their ancestors originally occupied territory to 
the south of the river Benue, their headquarters being at 
Attagara, south of Etobe, in what is now Bassa Province (the 
earliest history dates from 1400 A.D.), and that a son of some 

TRIBES. 155 

early Chief or Ata (father), Ohimi by name, crossed the Benue 
and assumed sway over the peoples already in occupation of 
that country, that his descendants founded the rival kingdoms 
of Egu, now known as Koton Karifi,* and Panda, f whose power 
extended from the Niger to the confines of the Mada tribe, and from 
the Benue to the foot of the Gwari Hills. Both kingdoms were 
in their zenith when Barth visited Haussaland, and Panda 
is mentioned by Landar as second only to Timbuctoo and Kukawa 
in importance. They were, however, subjected to raids from 
the Filane of Nupe in the middle of the nineteenth century, 
and a few yeais later were finally conquered and dispersed by 
Umuru, first Sarkin Nassarawa. 

The Igbira are now distributed along the riverain districts 
of Kabba (population 23,254), and inland in the southern division 
of Kabba (population 1,120), along the riverain districts of 
Bassa (population 8,553), of Niger, where they are generally 
known as Bira or Biri (population 7,117), with a further small 
group in the neighbourhood of Wushishi, of Nassarawa Emirate 
(population 4,728), and of Muri, where they are known under 
the Haussa cognomen of Kwotto. The total population is, 
therefore, something over 45,000. 

Their language is distinct from that of the Igara, though 
the late Bishop S. A. Crowther mentions that, together with 
the Aragu (Igara), they spoke a lingua franca from Dama in 
Southern Nigeria to Doma and Keana in Nassarawa. There is 
said to be a large admixture of Arago blood in the Umaisha Igbira. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century a certain number 
migrated northwards up the Niger River, settling in the southern 
and Agbaja Divisions of Kabba Province, where they are gradually 
being absorbed amongst the neighbouring tribes ; Okeni being 
the principal town. Some of those who moved inland have 
adopted both dialect and customs different to those of their own 

There are four principal branches, the Okengwe, Ika, Ihima 
and Odabie, all united under a tribal chief, the Atairu, but 
each having its own divisional Chief, whose authority is, however, 
grudgingly acknowledged. They form the majority in the 
Igbira District, which has a population of 40,000. 

With the exception of a few towns who sent tribute to the 
Filane, the Igbira did not come under Filane supremacy. 

One section, under the name of Igara (which is also the 
name of their town), has been joined to a group of Edo tribes 
nicknamed Kukuruku. They are an indolent people, practising 
riverain pursuits. 

*See History of Koton-Karifi. 
f North of Umaisha. 


The headquarters of those in Bassa Province is at Gbebe, 
just south of the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers. 

They have been placed under a'Kanawa district-head. 

Others penetrated up the Benue, settling first north of Umaisha, 
where they established supremacy over the Gwari and Bassa, 
whence a large branch descended to Koton Karifi. 

These people have the reputation of being energetic and 
intelligent, but withal heavy drinkers, beer being their staple 
nourishment . 

Their skulls are broad across the forehead, but taper to the 
chin. They are light complexioned, their lips are moderately full, 
and their noses are Jewish in formation. They are well built 
and fairly tall. The pure-bred Bira refuses to marry a Bassa. 

They have no tribal marks, but slightly widen the division 
between the two upper front teeth. 

Circumcision is practised and is an old custom. 

They purchased slaves, but being of a peaceful disposition 
made none in war. 

Each village Chief ex-officio holds the land in the neighbour- 
hood of his township and half-way to the next in trust for the 
people, amongst whom he distributes it for cultivation. The 
rights of usage of oil-palms and of fishing-pools are also appor- 
tioned by the village Chief, but no alien may enjoy the fruits 
of trees, even when growing on land which may have been allotted 
to him for farming purposes. 

The Chief of the Igbira is called " Ohindashi " and he is 
chief priest to the one invisible god, " Ihinegba," a beneficent 
deity who lives in the sky, whose name denotes rain and whose 
voice is the thunder. He gives rain and sunshine, fertility to 
crops, herds and women, and also punishes the wicked by sickness. 
' Ohindashi," together with the priest-craft, has power over 
the unseen world, and over devils, and can call upon them to 
punish evil-doers. 

Thus a spirit appears to declare whether a man's death was 
due to natural causes, and if the decision was in the negative, 
proclaims who was the murderer. 

Likewise if a witch was found guilty of peculiarly heinous 
crimes (ordinarily a witch was merely driven forth from the 
community), the Chief would bring him to the men's temple, where 
a ghostly figure would appear to preside over the fulfilment of 
the sentence, i.e., hacking to death. On the other hand a gor- 
geously apparelled personage, symbolic of procreation, would 
be visible at times in the women's temple. 

There is a temple in " Ohindashi's " palace inhabited by 
a spirit to whom the people give money and make sacrifice of 
a white fowl or goat, that he may defend their towns and give 
them prosperity. They dance and sing until he issues forth, 
concealed beneath a long red gown and horned mask. 

TRIBES. 157 

Each town furthermore has a sacred stone or tree. 

There are two principal festivals, held at the yam and at 
the guinea-corn harvests. Women bring money and sacrifices, 
but have no further part in the ceremony. 

No one may sow guinea-corn until " Ohindashi," in virtue 
of his office as chief priest, has set the example. 

He intercedes with ' Ihinegba " to send rain, and the 
ceremonies that accompany the succession of each new Chief 
are not completed until rain has fallen. A cap, stool, and 
staff are emblems of office. 

The succession passes in turn to the representatives of four 
families, descendants of the four sons of the first Chief. 

In Nassarawa and Niger Provinces the chief god is named 
'* Agabi." possibly a dialectical difference only from the Kabba 
god " Ihinegba." They also reverence certain inanimate objects, 
such as stones and trees, like their more southerly compatriots, 
and propitiate the spirits of the dead with libations and sacrifices, 
as it is believed that they rule the destiny of the living. 

They take oath before " Agabi," by drinking beer from 
a calabash which contains an axe-head. 

In Bassa Province the Chief, " Anaja," is also high priest. 
Outside his house is a sacred tree of great size, beneath which 
is a large stone. At the time of the annual yam harvest, a cloth is 
bound round the tree and arrows are fired into it. The " Anaja," 
together with the other Chiefs, then offers a sacrifice of goats, 
fowls, beer and cooked yams, in honour of their departed ances- 
tors, and all partake of the banquet. The next day a similar 
rite is performed at the burial place of the dead Chiefs, a large 
house which is tended by certain women all the year round, and 
which is kept scrupulously clean. There too, the deities are 
sometimes represented in material form. 

The villages were formerly built on high, steep hills, and 
for further safety the smooth rocks were rendered still more 
slippery by palm-oil, which was smeared on them in time of 

Dane-guns were used, and bows and barbed arrows.* The 
latter were poisoned with a concoction from the bark of twenty trees , 
boiled together with a piece of black cloth taken from the image 
of the god of war and hunting. It was particularly efficacious, 
causing death in fifteen minutes. The Igbira manoeuvred so 
as to fire upwards upon their enemy. 

They are now descending from the hills to their plain farms. 

Considerable numbers of palm-kernels are collected. Large 
hunts are organised, when men go in lines twenty together. 
The man who first sights the game whistles a warning and the 
chief hunter is always allowed the first shot. They generally 

* Ditto Igbira in Bassa. 


take medicine to make themselves invisible to a charging 

The village head-man receives a share of all game killed, and 
is further given free labour on his farm, in return for which he 
provides the labourers with beer. 

In the riverain districts large numbers of men fish and paddle 

In Bassa Province they are good dyers. 

There both sexes habitually clothe themselves in a single 
cloth, which the men throw over one shoulder, and which the 
women wrap round them beneath the armpits. The inland 
Kabba women only wear a loin-cloth. 

Their tribal marks consist of three long cuts on either side 
of the face, three short cuts under each eye, and three short 
cuts on the chin. In Koton Karifi, where their use is dying 
out, they are described as ' parallel incisions from temple to 

Sons assist their fathers by working on their farms until, 
and even after, their marriage. It is, however, usual for a man 
to give his son a separate farm on his marriage, and also to pay 
the dower ; formerly (in Nassarawa and Niger) the groom worked 
on his future father-in-law's farm for three years, and no further 
dower was given. This is still the case in Koton Karifi, but 
the groom has to give presents to his bride's parents in addition. 
He has also to sacrifice a chicken and make libation of its blood 
to his father-in-law's ancestor at the family altar, in the presence 
of his bride's father. When this is done he returns to claim 
his bride without further ceremony. 

No divorce was permitted, and if a woman left her husband 
she had to leave the country. 

Two different accounts of marriage are recorded from Kabba. 
One recognises infant betrothal, when the boy's father supplies 
food to the girl's mother until the children are of marriageable 
age. The bride's father fixes the dower between the sum of 
55. and 155. according to the rank of the contracting parties, 
and always including a string of three hundred cowries. A 
feast is held on the wedding-day, but the bride may not attend 
it. She sits apart in the house of her father-in-law's chief wife, 
where a brass bracelet is fastened on to her left wrist, and her 
front teeth are filed in serrated edges like a saw. She receives 
presents of money, cloth and beads from her father-in-law. 

A woman can obtain divorce by returning all the presents 
she has received, as well as the dower money. If, however, 
her husband refuses to take back the string of three hundred 
cowries which he originally gave to her father, he can claim any 
children she may subsequently bear. 

By the other system the father negotiates a marriage for 
his son, and pays a dower of 75. Qd., as well as 240 cowries. The 

TRIBES. 159 

suitor then offers the girl 6d. If she refuses it the dower money 
is refunded and the negotiation broken off, but if she accepts it 
they are formally betrothed. The suitor pays her family 
two hundred cowries every ten days, and an additional payment 
of is. 6d. twice yearly. He also assists in their farm work and 
helps at burials. Should he postpone the wedding after the 
girl has reached marriageable age, he has to pay four hundred 
cowries and 35., and should he break it off altogether nothing is 
refunded to him. When the wedding takes place the bride's 
parents give her half-a-crown, some yams, and kola nuts, and 
a feast is held. 

In Koton Karifi a child is named by its father four days 
after birth, after he has first consulted his relatives. 

In other parts, seven days after the birth of a child, its mother 
takes it out of the house, and all her friends assemble, bringing 
with them presents of money, beer, food and clothes. The 
infant is washed and its head shaved, after which the two grand- 
mothers sprinkle its head from a special pot of clean water and 
name it. The ceremony ends in a feast, when the guests dance 
and sing. The birth of twins was considered very lucky, and 
a cow was killed to celebrate the event. 

Were an infant born with a tooth on the upper jaw already 
cut it was killed, or got rid of, as otherwise one of its parents 
would die within a month. 

Circumcision is always practised. 

In Koton Karifi a goat is sacrificed in honour of the deceased, 
and a wake is held. Elsewhere, on the death of a Chieftain, 
his sons beat drums and the women sound gongs and cymbals. 
The body is washed and wrapped in a large quilt (exclusively 
used as a winding sheet) or cloth. The next day a cow or 
sheep is sacrificed in the doorway, and the corpse is buried in 
the house, as they believe the ground outside is too hot for 
the spirit to find repose. The sons scatter cowries from the 
house-top and a great feast is held, when quantities of beer are 

Where the family do not possess sufficient wealth to celebrate 
these rites immediately, the body is dried and smoked, and kept 
until the necessary riches have been accumulated, these being 
contributed to by daughters-in-law as well as sons. 

W T hen a woman dies, her husband sends a cow or sheep to 
her people, with the message that the child they gave him is 
dead. They send back firewood, saying ' She is not dead, 
warm her with fire." The following day they come with drums 
to view the body, returning home again to return with cowries 
for distribution from the house-top. They then convey the 
body to their own house for burial. 

The ceremony may, however, be delayed as described above. 

Young children are buried outside the doorway. 


Suicides are interred without ceremony, though inside 

Grave-digging is a special craft, of which the members have 
a medicine for making the ground soft. They make a hole in 
the floor of the house and excavate a tunnel, at the end of which 
is a small chamber containing a raised mud bedstead for the 

Food is placed on the top of the grave, for the Igbira believe 
in a future existence, but not either in a heaven or hell. 

Sacrifice is made to the spirits of ancestors, and dreams are 
regarded as warnings from the spirit- world. 

On the death of the r< Anaja " (Bassa Province) six slaves 
were killed and buried with him, whilst another had his arms 
and legs broken and was then thrust alive into the grave, where 
enough food and water was placed to keep him alive for one 

Red is the mourning colour, but widows tie a black thread 
round their necks. They wash and shave immediately after 
the death has occurred, and for nine months remain inside the 

In Koton Karifi, the brother, and failing him, the son, inherits 
everything, and acts guardian to the family, amongst whom it 
is customary for him to divide a small portion of the inheritance. 
The children always remain with him. Elsewhere the sons 
inherit everything, with the exception of their father's widows, 
who pass to his brothers. Failing sons, brothers inherit. 

Women hold property of their own, which their husbands do 
not inherit. 

Daughters succeed to their mother's cooking utensils and 
water-pots, and have a life interest in beads. In Kabba a man 
is succeeded first by his brothers failing them, by his sons. 

Disputes and trials may be settled by ordeal, of which three 
tests have been recorded. 

1. Medicine is first placed on the tongue of the accused 
and he is given a wing-feather of a fowl, which he must pass 
through his tongue. If he does so without the feather bending 
or breaking his innocence is considered proved. 

2. The second test is administered by an hereditary office- 
holder, who dwells at Ophira, and is generally administered 
to women. Religious rites are first executed and then a rope 
is bound round the wrists of the accused. She bends forward and 
if the rope tightens she is pronounced guilty, if it drops off, 

3. A somewhat similar method is practised in Bassa. A 
round hole is dug some six inches in depth, into which a coiled 
rope is lowered, hidden by a leaf daubed with medicine. A 
person accused of theft thrusts his hands down, and if caught 
by the rope his guilt is proved. 

TRIBES. 161 

4. In Niger and Nassarawa the Igbira make use of the ordinary 
Gwaska poison ordeal . 

There murder and manslaughter, whether the result of 
accident or not, are punished by death. 

In Koton Karifi a murderer is beheaded. Other serious 
crime is punished by slavery. Minor delinquencies are generally 
begged off, but on the third repetition the offender is driven from 
the town. Juveniles are punished by their fathers. 


The lyara are a small tribe inhabiting the neighbourhood 
of Lupa in the Kabba Division of Kabba Province. 


AUTHORITY: Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The lyashi are now a small and rapidly diminishing tribe 
in Nassarawa Province, where they occupy a few scattered 
villages on the slopes of the Kibyen Hills. 

The women are somewhat superior to the men, a large per- 
centage of whom are deformed and undersized, little over four 
feet six inches in height. Both sexes file their teeth and the 
men go completely nude, whilst the women stain their bodies 
with ochre and wear a tassel of string and a bunch of leaves. 
They are cannibals and head-hunters. 

If a pregnant woman is captured an attempt is made, for 
fetish reasons, to remove the child before killing her. 

On the day crops are harvested all fires are put out, pots 
are cleaned and men wash, a proceeding foreign to their customs 
throughout the rest of the year. Besides indications of fire- 
worship, their religion shows phallic tendencies. 

They are probably akin to the Ayu, Mayir, Ninkada and 
Nadu clans, despite the fact that their dialect is slightly different. 

The ordinary tribal weapons are bows and wooden-headed 
arrows, light spears, short swords, clubs and. axes. 

In war time the leaders carry circular shields of white goat- 
skin. They wear conical helmets or morions to match, 
as also a white goat-skin slung over the shoulder. In the event 
of a leader falling his insignia is immediately donned by some 
other combatant. 

Slaves are obtained by capture or by purchase. 

Witchcraft is punished by death. 




Mr. Y. Kirkpatrick. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

Mr. J. C. Sciortino. 

The Jaba occupy the independent district of Kwoi, in the 
Jemaa Division of Nassarawa Province, which has an area of 
some 100 square miles and a population of 9,932, which includes 
two Lungu villages and a Haussa settlement. They also inhabit 
the adjoining Maaji District of Zaria Emirate, where, together 
with their neighbours the Kaje they number some 2,000. 

The Kwoi District is situated on a plateau, in undulating 
country, which to the south becomes rugged, whilst to the north 
there are thick belts of kurumi. It is watered on the north by 
the Gurara river, and there are innumerable streams throughout 
the district, which, in the wet season, become considerable 

The soil on the lower level is of a rich loam, and marshy, but, 
though good agriculturists, the Jaba do not take advantage of it 
to raise either rice (except in very small quantities) or onions. 

They cultivate ginger and collect palm-oil for export purposes. 
They weave for local use only, and are keen huntsmen. They 
own a considerable amount of stock, though no cattle are kept 
south of the Gurara. 

Those in Nassarawa are now united under Dogo, the hereditary 
Chief of Kwoi, but considerable jealousy is shown by the chiefs of 
other townships. 

The Jaba came originally from somewhere to the north of 
Kachia, in Zaria Province, where they were probably indigenous. 

When the Filane overthrew the old Habe dynasty the Jaba fled 
south to their present vicinity, but did not escape an overwhelming 
slave-raid on the part of Abdu Karimi, Emir of Zaria. They 
scattered, but obtained temporary immunity from further raids 
by paying regular tribute to Zaria. They were attacked, how- 
ever, from time to time, and it was not until 1903 that the Jaba 
of Kwoi finally ceased their allegiance, and obtained security 
under British rule. They show some affinity to the neighbouring 
tribes of Attakka, Kagoro, Kagoma, Kaje, Kaura and Moroa ; 
and the women are similarly attired, i.e., a bunch of leaves in 
front, and a conical-shaped piece of bamboo behind, the latter 

TRIBES. 163 


being ornamented with threads of beads or brass, which are 
attached by liquid rubber. 

The girls often wear a small apron of cowries. The Haussa 
dress is, however, being adopted by both sexes in the bigger 

They speak a language of their own, but are nearly all con- 
versant with Haussa. 

Each house has a conical shaped grass-thatched roof, sloping 
up at the back to an angle of about 45. Every hut is divided 
into three apartments by arches of mud the porch, kitchen 
and bedroom. In the latter, where the roof reaches its highest 
altitude, is built a solid pillar of mud, in which a cavity is hollowed 
at the top for the reception of the household treasures. This 
room is quite dark, and even in the kitchen artificial light is used 
all day, but the porch is light enough to reveal artistic designs 
traced on the mud walls and floors by means of different coloured 

On the birth of an infant, both mother and child are washed 
with cold water that same day. On the fourth day its mother 
takes it outside the house, where, in the presence of the women 
of the household, it is named by its father if a boy, by its mother 
if a girl. Twins, however, are not named till the seventh day 
after their birth, when the elders of the village come to perform 
that duty, and partake of a feast, for which the father provides 
a goat and beer. 

The first man who sees a newly-born girl has the right to 
claim her as his future wife, when he gives her father a ring, a 
chicken, or two thousand cowries. He gives her mother a bag 
of acha or guinea-corn every year until the child is of marriageable 
age, at nine or ten years old. He then presents her father with a 
large hoe (value about los.) and six goats. He also sends two cala- 
bashes of tuo, to be distributed amongst the girl's relations, in 
notification of their impending marriage ; and, after sending 
his bride some oil, wherewith to anoint her body, he awaits her 
at his house together with his male friends. She is brought to 
him at night by the girls of the village, who come dancing and 
singing. A feast of tuo is given to all the guests, the men partaking 
thereof in one room, the girls in another ; after which they dis- 

Every succeeding year the husband has to pay 2s. to his wife's 
father, or his heirs, which ceases only on her death or desertion. 

A woman may leave her husband, and even return to him 
after a space, without rebuke. She may also, as a girl, refuse to 
marry the man to whom she is betrothed, so long as she marries 
someone as soon as she is of age, the successful suitor refunding 
the dower paid by the rejected man. A man marrying a widow 
pays her father 6s. 8d., and there is no further feast or ceremony. 
The first wife takes precedence over subsequent ones. 


When a death occurs the villagers are informed, and the body 
is washed, and anointed with oil by the female relatives, wrapped 
in a native mat, and carried outside the town by the elders of the 
village on the morning of the following day. The grave-digger, 
having first made a round hole of sufficient depth for him to stand 
in up to his neck, then makes a tunnel, at right angles to the 
bottom of this pit, in which the corpse is laid, a large stone closes 
the mouth of the tunnel, and the pit is then filled in and marked 
by an upright stone. A Chief, however, is buried in the porch 
of his house. His most influential followers are allowed to see 
the body, which they afterwards wash and anoint with butter. 
It is then wrapped in a white sheet and, after a day's interval, is 
lowered into the grave on a native bed, which rests on wooden 
supports. On the burial morning the whole village assemble to 
the sound of a drum at a place set apart for their lamentations, 
and from sunrise to sunset, the men in one body, the women in 
another, pace round and round, chanting a certain dirge. Indi- 
viduals may drop out for a while, but only to rejoin the procession. 
The next day the same ceremony is observed, but, on this occasion, 
every neighbouring village sends its representatives. 

After a lapse of two months the people again assemble at the 
deceased's house, the relatives of both sexes attending with 
shaved heads in token of mourning. The heirs provide a great 
quantity of beer, on which the men get thoroughly drunk, and 
the relatives of the deceased supply a large number of goats and 
sheep, which are cooked by the women outside the Magajin 
Dodo's house. A voice from within is heard, which is interpreted 
as the return of the spirit of the deceased, who salutes his 
friends, and thanks them for their gifts. The women thereupon 
fly to their houses, while the men remain to devour the meat. 
This custom is of so extortionate a nature that the late Sarki 
forbade its practice at the town of Kwoi. 

The Jaba believe that the souls of the dead can enter the 
womb of a living woman and be re-born. Between these two 
periods of public mourning the widows are secluded in their 
houses and do no work ; the relatives of the deceased bringing 
them food. They are entitled to remarry in the fourth month. 

The sons, and failing sons the brothers, inherit ; all property 
being equally divided between them. Any dispute is settled by 
the oldest member of the family. They usually marry the widows, 
though a man may not marry his own mother, but a woman is 
permitted to marry any other man if she so elects. A man may 
leave either part, or the whole of his property, to any male 
relative, so long as he does so in the presence of a witness, but 
this is of rare occurrence. 

A woman cannot inherit. 

Children might be pawned for debt, and cases are known 
where they were sold to traders in times of scarcity. 

TRIBES. 165 


Numerous Political Officers and Major F. Edgar. 

The Jarawa is a large tribe occupying a wide area to the south 
of Bauchi city. In all they number probably some ninety to one 
hundred thousand people. They are divided up into several 
groups, which, while they speak a radically common language, 
have each developed separate dialects. This language has several 
distinct " clicks " similar to the Bantu languages.* On the whole 
the main customs, habits and characteristics of the tribe are 
shared by all sections alike. 

Those inhabiting the plains, generally speaking, are subject 
to the Emir of Bauchi ; those inhabiting the more hilly regions and 
rocky fastnesses have either retained or regained their liberty. 
The principal town of the former is Bununu Kassa. In all there 
are about forty-eight thousand Jarawa subject to Bauchi. There 
are a few in the Gombe Emirate. The two principal independent 
groups are those of Kanam and Duguri, including Dan and Kan- 
tana ; there is another island of independent Jarawa in the Dass 
hills. On the northern, eastern and southern slopes of the Shere 
and Maigemu hills are found a number of scattered villages of 
Hill Jarawa, such as Fobbur, Shere, etc. These differ somewhat 
more than other sections from the main tribe. There are a few 
Jarawa communities in the Muri Emirate. 

The origin of the Jarawa is obscure. There is a theory that 
they came originally from Bornu to Dass, bringing with them a 
spear which is still worshipped in the Dass temple, and that they 
bore the Kanuri tribal marks. The first authentic record is early 
in the nineteenth century, when the first Filane Emir of Bauchi, 
Yakuba, conquered the district, and exacted a small tribute. In 
the reign of his son, however, the Dass people received reinforce- 
ments from the other Jarawa, and revolted against the Filane, 
securing, and thereafter preserving, their independence. The 
present Chief of Bununu Dusi (Dass) is a Jarawa in the direct 
line of descent. 

Those Jarawa remaining on the plains were forced to submit 
to the suzerainty of the Filane, whilst the Duguri and Hill 
Jarawa resisted all attempts to subdue them. Many of the former 
have adopted the Muhammadan religion, and have intermarried 

* Sir Harry Johnston writes that it has an " undoubted resemblance to 
the Bantu language, with distinct though distant affinities with the semi- 
Bantu languages of the Kaduna district, with those immediately south of 
the Central Benue, and with the semi-Bantu languages of the Cross River, 
of south-west Togoland and of Senegambia." 


with the Denawa, Gerawa and Filane. The men used formerly 
to wear loin-cloths, or skins, the women bunches of grass, but as 
they come into contact with civilisation these are rapidly being 
discarded for robes, gowns and cloths. 

The following customs, as described by a Jarawa of Mbaro, are 
probably applicable to the tribe generally. 

Marriage is arranged when the principals are infants, but it 
is not consummated till the groom is about twenty-five and the 
bride twenty years of age. During the intervening years 2d. or 
3d. is paid to the bride's father every two or three months, and 
finally five to ten goats. The suitor, together with his friends, 
also works upon her father's farm. No ceremony is held when the 
bride goes to her husband, but three days later he holds a feast 
which lasts from 5 p.m. to dawn. 

The young man continues to work upon his father's farm 
until he is about thirty years old, and has acquired more wives, 
but his hours are only from 6 a.m. to 12 noon, after which he is 
at liberty to set about his own affairs. 

He has acquired with marriage the right to occupy a farm 
of his own and chooses a site which is granted to him, with all its 
forest produce, by the village chief ; in return for which he gives 
a gaisua (present) of one tobacco head and one fowl. His friends 
help him to clear it, and he provides them with drink and they 
sing and make merry. 

All farm work is done collectively, each man helping his neigh- 
bours, under the direction of a Sarkin Muna, who is elected every 
year for his knowledge of agriculture. A different man, Sarkin 
Kaiya, directs the harvesting operations, and the only reward 
these two officials receive is free beer. 

Each woman is given her own plot, the produce of which is 
entirely at her own disposal, and she, too, appoints a Sarkin Muna 
and Sarkin Kaiya, who are, however, always of the male sex. 

No crop is individual to one sex. 

A slave can hold land, and may work for himself after 2 p.m. 
His children are free and inherit all his property, but should he 
die without issue his master succeeds. A man will sometimes 
free and adopt his slave, or a slave may purchase freedom, but he 
cannot do so without his master's consent. 

Large numbers of slaves were captured as a result of prowess 
in war. 

When an attack was contemplated, it was the habit for the 
Chief, attended by large numbers of the populace, including 
women, to go out with his warriors, and make a gigantic war- 
camp about fifty miles away from the town that formed his 
principal objective. 

On the march the Waziri went first on horseback, accompanied 
by his foot-men, armed with bows and arrows, and horsemen, 
armed with swords! Knives were also carried. Then came the 

TRIBES. 167 

Sarkin Yaki* with his men, the Madawakif with his, then the 
Sarki and behind the Ajia who had charge of the women, whilst 
the Galadima brought up the rear guard. 

From that 'camp as their base the Waziri, Sarkin Yaki and 
Madawaki would strike at a distance of fifty miles. They would 
leave one evening , about 5p.m., and travel swiftly all night , taking 
with them only the strongest horses and most active men. They 
would rest perhaps for one hour, far enough away from the town 
for the neigh of their horses not to be audible and advance again 
about 4 a.m. At 5 they would be at the city gates, each Chief 
taking a different gate, against which he would launch his footmen. 
The horsemen were kept only for cutting off the enemy as they 
fled, never for conducting an assault. 

If resistance was offered the whole male population of an 
age to wear a beard were killed, each combatant carrying back w r ith 
him the heads of his victims, which he laid before the Sarki in 
proof of how much booty he had earned. Old women were left, 
but young women and children, and all the horses and stock 
that the conquerors could carry with them, were brought back 
to the Sarki in his camp, their return being almost as swift as their 
departure. The news was signalled by beating a small drum 
held under one arm. 

If the town capitulated all the warriors came forth, broke 
their bows, and cast ashes on their heads in token of submission. 
Their lives were then spared, but a large tribute of slaves, etc., 
was exacted at the time, and an impost laid on them for each 
future year. The person of an emissary approaching with his 
hand held open above his head was always respected. 

The Dugurawa were not sufficiently powerful to capture many 
slaves in warfare, but they made it a habit to waylay foreign 
children ; and, on rare occasions, members of their own tribe 
were enslaved for habitual theft . 

All cases of law were decided by the Chief, who was attended 
by the men of the village, who, one by one, as they were called 
upon, gave their opinion or asked further questions. 

If the accused persisted in asserting his innocence he was 
handed over to the Sarkin Tsafi, who first questioned him as man 
to man and then as priest , handing him a knife, on which to swear 
by licking its blade three times. The minister then took a stick 
in his hands, and said, " Even as I take hold of this stick so will 
Tsafi take hold of you if you have lied. Should the evil befall 
you within three days we shall know that you are the guilty man." 
Sometimes the accused fell sick, or was bitten by a snake, or 
injured his foot on a stone, in which case the following punish- 
ments were habitual. 

* Yaki war. 

f Ma-dawaki master of the horse. 



A murderer was decapitated by an axe unless his family gave 
a girl to the bereaved party, that she might bear them another son. 

A murderess was buried alive in the Sarki's compound,* 
where she was left to die, for no woman might bo killed. 

Assault was punished by fine. 

A small offence was not punished, but a thief was fined to 
the value of five times the amount he had taken, unless he pleaded 
hunger as the cause and could prove destitution, in which case 
he was not punished ; if the offence was frequently repeated, 
the criminal and all his compound were enslaved. 

A person accused of witchcraft was made to swear his inno- 
cence, and undergo the ordeal of licking the sharp edge of a 
knife, if his tongue were grazed he was considered guilty. Men 
noted for their virtue took the condemned wizard to the bush, 
where they bound him and threw him into deep water, remaining 
on the spot for two days to make sure of his death. If there was 
no water to be found they bunu-d him. 

A witch was enslaved by the Sarki, but by him only. 

Wizards are the offspring of witches, and are much more 
numerous, though the evil born in them does not become ap- 
parent until they are at least thirty-five to forty years of age. 
A wizard can enter into any animal, or may become so tall that 
he can reach over the roof of a house, and insert an invisible 
spear, with which he touches his enemy, who, next day, falls 

Owls are in attendance on both witches and wizards, and 
appear to the victim before his death. The wail of a night-cat is 
an omen of death, as is a dog sitting upon a roof. 

They believe in djinns, who live both in water and in trees, 
more especially in baobab and tamarind trees. They are a very 
small, well-clothed people, who possess many fine things with 
which they lure children, but the child who sees them dies. The 
djinns walk on the roads at midday, so wise people will not go 
abroad then. The water djinns occupy still ponds, where the water 
is either black or very clear, and rivers. 

One day a Duguri woman, three days after giving birth to 
a child, went to the river to draw water. A djinn struck her on 
the arm, cheek and side, and she fell to the ground distorted, 
and has never been able to speak or move normally since, despite 
large sums spent upon medicine for her. 

Burial takes place immediately after death. The body is 
first dressed, cotton being placed in the ears and nostrils, and then 
laid in a grave (dug to measure) outside the door of the house, 
wood is placed over it, and then leaves of the locust-bean tree, 
so that the earth, with which it is subsequently filled in, may not 
touch the body. After seven days a goat is killed and eaten, 

* Compare Nupe. 

TRIBES. 169 

after fourteen days beer is drunk, and after one month the whole 
family contribute stock and beer, and a big wake is held. The 
priest digs the earth away and severs the head from the body, 
cleaning it carefully with locust-bean leaves and placing it in a 
pot in the village temple. This is only done in the case of a head 
of a family, or important person, who, it is believed, can bring 
good fortune to the community. The leaves of the locust-bean 
are peculiarly sacred, -and the blood of a sacrificed animal is 
always sprinkled upon them. A man destroying a locust-bean tree, 
without good reason, is fined. 

Criminals are not buried at all, but are thrown into the bush. 
It is, however, doubtful whether this is invariably the custom, 
for some of the hill Jarawa and Dugurawa are cannibals. They 
do not eat the bodies of their own dead, but would not hesitate 
to devour their neighbours, and therefore an exchange of corpses 
is sometimes made. 

They say, however, that the taste of human flesh does not 
compare with that of an animal. 

Lepers, and the victims of small-pox, are buried in the bush, 
but the latter must be carried out by men who have formerly 
had the disease, and these men must disinfect themselves before 
rejoining the community. 

They believe that the good are re-born immediately into their 
own family, but that the bad are born into some foreign com- 
munity, if indeed they ever live again. 

If a man dies away from his country the marks of his hands 
and knees may be seen by his foreign grave, from which his spirit 
emerges to travel quickly and soundlessly to his native home. 

Widows and widowers alike mourn for a period varying from 
three to twelve months, during which time they wear grass 
bracelets, and may not wash, dress their hair, or go out. 

The widows pass to their deceased husband's brothers or 
family, but they can marry any other man on repayment of their 
dower money. 

A widower is at liberty to marry his wife's sister, which he 
may not do during his wife's lifetime. 

The son inherits. 

Both hill and plain Jarawa wear the same tribal marks, which 
consist of plain vertical lines on the forehead, ornamental lines 
on each cheek vertically and ear-holes. Some of .the plain Jarawa 
use the cheek markings only, while their hill brethren, at Dan, 
use no markings at all. The Mbaro state that the Filane laughed 
so much at the showiness of their markings that they changed 
them for one vertical line down the centre of the forehead, and 
three groups of lines, lightly marked, radiating from each side 
of the mouth. 

The common method of making fire is to grind together the 
dung of lizard, a little pepper, and a pinch of salt. A branch of 


the creeper, Sasarran Kura, is then heated over a fire, and is 
broken over the powder, releasing a water with which the powder 
is mixed. This is then rubbed on to a piece of metal which is thrust 
into the fire until it is red, it is plunged into water, re-coated 
with powder, and the process repeated. After this the metal is 
ready to produce a strong spark when struck against a stone, 
though it is first rubbed on the ground to facilitate its doing so. 
Some dried fibre from the silk-cotton tree is placed on the stone, 
and immediately ignites and smoulders when the spark is struck, 
The following tribes are branches of the Plain Jarawa, speaking 
dialects thereof unless otherwise stated, and may be divided into 
closely inter-related groups as follows, and into distinct septs. 

I. The Ampier, Bogorro and Seiyawa the latter a prosperous 
tribe, some 25,200 in number. They speak a distinct language. 
It is probable that the Bogorro are identical with the Seiyawa, 
Bogorro being the headquarters of the latter tribe, who 
inhabit the neighbourhood of Leri, south-west of Bauchi. 

The men are clothed, but the women wear leaves only. 

II. The Badara, Barawa or M'barawa, a tribe numbering 
some 305 in Bauchi Emirate, and 4,000 in the independent 
state of Dass, where they were original settlers (probably off-shoot 
of Seiyawa?). Many have become Muhammadans and have 
intermarried with Filane and Gerawa. And the Gurumtu, in 
the Duguri District. This group speak a different language to 
that used by the Jarawa proper. 

III. The Gwa and Nyamra. 

IV. The Djon and Bayirr, who live in Kanam. They speak 
a distinct language similar to that of the Njamb. 

Other individual branches are 

The Bankalawa, who inhabit the Dass hills in the south-west 
of Bauchi Province (where, together with the Barawa, they were 
original settlers) the neighbouring Bauchi Emirate, where they 
have a population of some 5,405, and the Duguri District. 

Early in the nineteenth century they were conquered by the 
Filane, but, after a few years, a number of them regained their 

The Gallambawa, who number some 8,455 in Bauchi Emirate 
near the river Gongola, and 50 in Kanam, have also a settlement 
in Muri Emirate, though probably this is of a temporary nature, 
for no Jarawa will contemplate death away from his home, 
however far he may wander. They speak a distinct language 
from Jarawa. 

The Barta or Bartak number some 2,445. They are situated 
in Bauchi Emirate. 
The Gar. 

The Gyang-gyang. 
The Gallamkeau who are near Kanam. 

TRIBES. 171 

The Badawa, or M'badawa, who adjoin the Dugurawa, 
speaking their language though a distinct clan. 

The Jaku, who are located east of Bauchi, on the river 

The Birrim, a clan of nine hundred souls. 

The Bajamawa, or Bajiamawa, who number some 935. 

The Bandirri. 

The N'jamb, who speak a distinct language, similar to that 
of the Bayirr and D'jon. 

The Foburawa and Kaiyorawa, who are septs of the Hill 
Jarawa. They still live in the Shere and Maigenu hills, but 
tender allegiance to the Emir of Bauchi, from whose suzerainty 
they at one time attempted revolt. In the Lemme District 
they number some twelve thousand. 

A legend relates that a man and woman emerged magically 
from a hole at Fegwom (near Fobura), and bore children with 
supernatural speed, thus originating the Fobura sept. The spot 
is still reverenced. 

A section of the Foburawa left their birthplace in the early 
part of the nineteenth century and migrated to Jos, where they 
now inhabit an area of forty-two square miles, with a population 
of 760. They have intermarried with their Anaguta and Burrum 
neighbours. It has been stated that at the time of this migration 
another group from Fobura pressed on past Jos, and settled among 
the Chawai pagans at Kwall, with whom they intermarried, thus 
forming a tribe which is now known as " Irrigwe." 

Perhaps it is as well to mention here that a group, comprised 
of the Mashido, Demolo, Garaga, Kantana and Munawa clans, 
who live near Kanam, speak a dialect of Jarawa, and wear their 
tribal markings, are not of the Jarawa stock (Major F. Edgar). 


The Jepal are situated in the Pankshin District of Bauchi. 

They are probably related to the Ankwe, of Chip, but nothing 
is recorded of them but that the majority do not practise circum- 


The Jeriyawa are situated in the north of Bauchi Emirate. 
Possibly they are of the same tribe as the Jereawa, notified 
from Ako, in Gombe, where they number some 1,470. They are 
a small community of hill pagans. 



The Jimbinawa, or Jimbawa, are a small community of pagans, 
595 in number, who inhabit the hills of north Bauchi Emirate. 
Their headquarters are at Jimbin, in Ganjua. 


Mr. H. Q. Glenny. Mr. F. E. Maltby. 

The Jubawa, or Jibawa, are Jukon, formerly inhabitants of 
Jibu, on the Benue, who were conquered by the Filane and driven 
out in the year 1842. 

The District they now occupy is situated to the east of the 
Kungana range of mountains, in the Ibi Division of Muri Pro- 
vince, and is rich in shea-nut trees. The principal towns are 
Beli and Nyeli. 

Fresh- water oysters are found in the Gazabu river. 

It is under two half- Jukon District headmen, Bunga and 
Beli by name. 



Captain U. F. Ruxton. Mr. H. F. C. Holme. 

Mr. H. R. Palmer. Captain P. Lonsdale. 

The Jukon are stated originally to have inhabited the country 
of Yemil, to the east of Mecca. Under the leadership of their 
Chief, Agadu, they marched out to make war against the Prophet, 
but they met an old man on the way who advised them to abandon 
the campaign, and they returned to Yemil. 

Muhammad, however, heard of the occurrence, and sent 
emissaries to Yemil, bearing a letter, together with presents 
of drums and aligatas. The people of Yemil were afraid, now 
that they knew the Prophet was aware of their intentions, and 
they left their country, marching westwards, until they came 
to the country west of Lake Chad, where a number of them 
stopped, founding the city of Kukawa. With them Agadu left the 
Prophet's letter, and there it is thought to be to this day. This 
is a legend of doubtful veracity, however. 

Agadu himself travelled on with his followers to the Benue, 
where they made their capital at Kororofa, which is situated in 

TRIBES. 173 

high open land between Wurrio and Bantaji, to the north-east 
of Wukari. 

Zamka and Yamkele, sons of Agadu, became jealous of their 
father's power, and urged him to abdicate in their favour J this 
he refused to do, and they left him, travelling to Kufain Pindika, 
where Zamka stopped, Yamkele founding Gated, in the same 
neighbourhood. Thus was the Pindika Kingdom established, 
and their influence became paramount amongst the former in- 
habitants, the Tangale, Tera and Bole, who paid tribute to them, 
and adopted their religion, with individual exceptions. The Jukon, 
were not, however, keen colonists, and the only trace of their 
occupation to be found at the present time is at Maru, amongst 
the Bolewa. There is a subsequent record of eighteen Chiefs of 
the House of Wukari, this house being raided by the Filane Emir 
of Gombe, Buba Yero, in 1807, but not finally destroyed until 
1841-44, by his son. The family of Puttuk reigned in their 
stead from that date to the present day. 

The Jukon claim connection with the Wandara, and with the 
Wangarawa (Mandingoes) , and, it is further said, the parent 
stock, the Kororofawa, came from Sango, south of Lake Chad, 
Whatever the relationship between these places may have been, 
it is an established fact that Jukon lived in Bornu (and in Bida), 
and that the Kanuri lived in Kororofawa, and that there was 
constant intercourse between the two. Dr. Barth, however, 
mentions that the Jukon laid siege to the capital of Bornu at the 
end of the eleventh century. 

In 1384 or 1385 it is recorded in the Kano Chronicle that Yaji, 
Chief of Kano, made war on the Kororofawa in their own country, 
that they fled up the neighbouring hill of Tagara, where they 
were besieged for seven months, after which time they paid Yaji 
an indemnity of a hundred slaves. In the course of the fourteenth 
century the Jukon carried war into Bauchi and Zaria. They ap- 
pear to have reached the height of their power at the end of the 
sixteenth century, when they marched on Kano,* and laid waste 
the country round, though, out of respect to the Mallams, they 
refrained from entering the town itself. Towards the end of the 
seventeenth century the Kororofawa again marched against 
Kano,* penetrating this time into the town itself, and ravaging 
Haussaland. About that time they invaded Bornu, but were 

Bello, Sarkin Muslumi, writing in the first half of the nine- 
teenth century, describes the Kororofa as one of the seven greatest 
Kingdoms of the Sudan, possessing all the lower and part of the 
middle section of Haussaland i.e., Kano, Zaria, part of Katsina 
and raiding Bornu. It has been said elsewhere that their dominion 
extended south to the Cross River and even to the Atlantic. 

* Kano Chronicle. 



It is certain that the Kororofawa coming from a District 
south of Lake Chad, and advancing through Ibi and Bauchi, 
overflowed and conquered all Haussaland, south of Sokoto, and 
it is a curious fact that nevertheless they left little trace of this 
occupation, either on the customs or racial characteristics of 
the inhabitants of the territories they conquered. 

The decline of their power must have set in in the eighteenth 
century, for when 4 the Filane advanced into their country at the 
time of the Jihad, 1815, the Jukon fled westwards to Kasan 
Chiki and the salt regions round Awe. Returning later a remnant 
of them built Wukari, a walled town containing a population of 
some 2,500, for their capital of Kororofa was destroyed by Burba 
of Bakundi the ruins now being barely traceable. 

The Chief of the Jukon, Sarkin Wukari, paid tribute to Bauchi. 

It is difficult to form an estimation of the numbers of Jukon 
now left, for they are intermixed with the Munshi, Agatu, Turu 
and others ; but it is probable that there are some 10,918 in Muri 
Province. They are located down the left bank of the Benue 
and on the Katsena Allah River, there are a few near Wase, and 
some 1,128 over the boundary at Gateri in the Gombe Division 
of Bauchi Province, and 41 have been notified from Nassarawa. 

The following tribes show some connection with the Jukon : 



Tributary to. 

Language or 
other connection. 









Jubawa or 




By ancient Jukon law the King, Asum,* was only allowed 
to reign for two years, and if during that period he fell ill, or 
even sneezed or coughed, he was immediately killed. 

The succession passed to any direct descendant of any deceased 
King, and on that one amongst them who desired the kingdom 

* The following description is taken from Mr. H. R. Palmer's article 
contributed to the " African Journal. 

TRIBES. 175 

devolved the duty of slaying the reigning monarch. He signified 
his intention by entering the King's mess, walking round, and 
out, after which it was his duty to attack the King at the first 
subsequent opportunity. If no such opportunity occurred before 
the time of the annual festival, when the King was obliged to go 
to the place of sacrifice, the murderer waylaid him, for the attempt 
might not be deferred longer. Were the King to overthrow his 
assailant another candidate came forward till the deed was accom- 

The royal corpse was carried to the place of sacrifice, where 
the internal organs were removed, and four men were set to 
guard the body, which was first smeared with butter and salt, 
then laid on a bed, beneath which a slow fire was kept burning 
for a period of two or three months. At the expiration of that 
period the headmen, together with all the members of the royal 
family, were summoned thither and the death was formally an- 
nounced to them. 

The King-slayer was seated on a chair, while the priest, 
together with five or six important chiefs were seated on reversed 
mortars. The priest then said, " We wish to make a King," and 
the senior chief handed him a whip and a cap, saying " Give us 
a King." The whip was placed round the candidate's neck, the 
cap over the royal head-dress of a long plait coiled on the top of 
the head. The candidate then twisted his head sharply, and if 
the cap remained on he was confirmed in his succession. 

A black dog, ox, goat and fowls were sacrificed at the gate 
through which he would pass out, and on making his exit he 
stepped over the corpse of his predecessor. 

He, together with the Priest and Senior Chief, alone attended 
the burial that night, the body being dressed by the priest and 
mounted on a horse in front of the King. 

The burial vault was excavated beneath the floor of a large, 
domed, circular hut, the same size as that of the hut itself. The 
roof of the vault was supported by beams and rafters, and 
entrance was obtained by means of a ladder through a two- 
foot-wide hole in the centre. 

Water jars, a washing basin, a finger bowl, apparatus for 
making fire, twelve mats, a red cloak, calabash, pipe and tobacco, 
and palm wine were laid inside with the corpse. The mouth of 
the entrance was covered over and old clothes laid on the roof 
of the hut, which was left untouched until it fell in. 

The above custom of murdering the King was broken through 
by an Asum, named Agadu, who enlisted an Haussa bodyguard 
to preserve him from attack, and, under their protection, reigned 
for eleven years. 

In his administration the Asum was assisted by four principal 
officers. His Minister for Foreign Affairs was a Muslim, but the 


Jukon were never converted to Muhammadanism, the tendency 
being in the opposite direction. 

The King's daughter, " Agya," held an official position, and 
was queen over all women and slaves, but she might not marry. 

Taxation was raised under four heads " Abu-tswen," Haussa 
" Abin Kassa," i.e., a tax on town houses paid to the Chief of 
the town, every adult male being obliged to own a town house, 
the farm dwellings being temporary. In Wukari the tax was 
paid in beer made from the first-fruits of the first harvest, which 
was drunk at religious festivals. In Akwana the tax was paid 
from the first boiling of salt. 

(2) " Abu-anajin," Haussa " Gaisua," i.e., a payment made 
to the Chief and Sarakuna on acquiring a house, land, etc. These 
payments were voluntarily continued as lately as 1913. Perhaps 
under the heading of " Gaisua " should be included the payment 
to the Asum of a black cloth from every householder whose town 
he visited. 

(3) " Aweachu," Haussa " Gando," or war-levy, was raised on 
every householder or landowner, and was commonly paid either 
in black cloth or in salt. The citizens of Wukari were exempted 
from this payment because they paid " Abinkassa " direct to 
the Asum. 

(4) " Gado," a death duty was paid by the families of those 
for whom the Chief provided the shroud that is to say, for all 
except the talakawa. This tax has no Jukon name and must 
have been of comparatively recent introduction. 

Every Jukon had the right of occupation of land for himself 
and his heirs for ever. He could pass on his right of occupation 
to another Jukon, but only by the King's permission, when he 
received payment for the standing crops and clearance of land, etc. 
He might leave his farm to some member of his family other than 
his heir, but only after stating the reasons for doing so to the 
King. The Asum always received Gaisua on the transfer of 
lands, but he might not refuse grants of occupancy to any native 
capable of this payment. 

The reigning " Asum " Agu or H'Abu by name or as 
he is now styled Sarkin Wukari, observes the traditional close 
seclusion ; he will only interview certain sub-chiefs through a 
wall or mat. He eats and drinks in absolute solitude, and he may 
may not look upon or cross running water. 

It is he who now acts as high priest, but formerly, as has 
been seen, the offices were distinct. The " Akondu "= chief 
priest, is assisted by the " Kuzafi" = King of the Water, who is 
believed to have power over water and amphibious animals. The 
Kororofa totem is the crocodile, and a certain fish named " ahulla" 
may neither be seen or eaten, and some of them similarly respect 
the python. 

TRIBES. 177 

These offices are hereditary to certain families, the succession 
passing to the oldest suitable male member. The priests may 
marry, but their wives are not allowed to do any work. 

The chief divinity is Gion, who is red and black, and is sym- 
bolised by an upright pole, to touch which is a binding form of 
oath. Miniature images of him are carried by many. He controls 
the thunder, and if a criminal cannot be found may summon 
lightning to strike him dead. First-fruits are offered, and black 
fowls and animals are sacrificed to him by the priests. 

Gion has charge of the souls of the dead and application to 
see them must be made through him. On the occasion of the 
harvest festival, when the palm wine has been brewed, Akondu 
summons the souls of the dead. The King provides certain 
properties which belong to them, in which Akondu envelops 
them, whereupon thirty or forty appear and speak, but are 

Sometimes ancestors visit their descendants at night, and if they 
rub their heads with cold water it is a sign of coming prosperity. 

Gion has a dog with a head like a lion, a small image of which 
is sometimes kept in the house, when palm wine is kept before 
it and its head is anointed with blood. 

Gion has a son Keji, who is regarded as an intercessor. 

A fully dressed wooden figure is commonly placed near the 
cornfields to prevent anyone from stealing the soul of the corn 
by saying " What a fine field of corn!" When the harvest is 
garnered the figure is taken home. 

The Jukon believe that each man has a body, a soul, a shadow 
and a revenant, but that the lower part of the body and the feet 
of this latter are invisible. 

They say that there are seven suns, who travel to the west, 
where they rest ; and that there are twelve moons, a boy who 
waxes and wanes. The moons live in water and go away and rest 
and renew youth. The moon travels by day and night, and if 
there is an eclipse they think the sun has caught it and beat 
drums to make the sun leave go its hold. Sacrifice is made to the 
moon if its light falls into the house. 

Each star represents a man's soul, and if a meteor is seen they 
believe some man is dead and lay their ears to the ground. 

They divide the year into thirteen months with eight days 
in each week. 

When- a man dies the women shave their heads and make 
lamentation, and the relatives wear their clothes inside out for 
three days. A new doorway is pierced in the hut through which 
the body is carried out. A widow prays to the soul of the deceased 
on his tomb for the welfare of herself and her children. She may 
marry again after a period of one year. 

These customs are not observed for a suicide. 



If a number of children of a family die young the heads 
the survivors are half shaved, and cotton, with a chain affixed 
to it, is tied round their necks to avert the evil. 

After the death-duty has been paid the real property is divided 
equally between the children. If there are none the brother 
inherits, but gives a portion to the wives and a portion to Akondu 
that he may call the spirit. Palm wine is poured on the tomb 
when a soul is summoned. 

Sickness is imputed to the action of an evil spirit, and sacrifice 
is made when the aid of ancestors is invoked. 

The people have a great knowledge of poisons, of which they 
make frequent use. 

They are now a decadent race, who farm, keep stock, practise 
riverain pursuits, as it may be, in an inferior manner. They still 
work the salt pans at Akwana, but have practically ceased weaving 
the cloth for which they were once famous. 

They have special dances, one performed by women only, 
another by mixed sexes, and a third, a war-dance, which lasts 
for three days, by horsemen with spears. 



Mr. T. W. P. Dyer. Mr. A. C. Francis. 

Capt. J. M. Fremantle. 

The Kadara are situated in the south of Zaria Province, 
in the districts of Zana, Wali, Kajuru (population 6,492), and 
Maaji, over an area of some 3,000 square miles, where they have 
a population of some 8,000, including their off-sets, the Ikolu 
(2,000), Kamantam (1,000), and Kuturmi (1,000), who settled 
in the Maaji District, circ. 1760 A.D. There is also a small section 
at Riban, and a group, numbering some 574, at Fuka in the 
Kuta District of the Niger Province. 

Little is known of their origin and history, beyond the fact 
that they inhabited their present territories some centuries 
ago, and the mention of a Beri-beri invasion and conquest of 
Kajuru. The town of Kajuru has been inhabited by foreigners 
now termed Haussas ever since, who offered fealty to the 
first Filane Emir of Zaria and paid tribute in Kadara slaves. 

The Kadara of Fuka, however, continued to pay tribute to 
the Haussa Sarki in Zozo, in his stronghold at Abuja, after he 
had been driven out of Zaria by the Filane, and he, in return, 
afforded them protection against the Filane raids. Each man 
contributed a mat and certain gaisua. 

The Kadara are of peaceable disposition and little serious 
crime was committed. In every case the criminal was reported 
to the Sarkin Abuja, who punished by slavery. 

It was the custom for the Kamantam to send a murderer 
away from the community to a certain rock, where he was 
supplied with food and water every day, but which he was not 
allowed to leave for a period varying between a few days and a 
month. At the close of that time certain ceremonies were per- 
formed tsafi and he was allowed to return to his people. 

They are good agriculturists and the Kamantam, at all events, 
possess a fair quantity of live stock. Fowls are only used for 
ceremonial purposes. A large proportion of the Ikolu are black- 
smiths, and all Kadara are famous for their mats, which are 
woven from the leaf of the wild date palm, and into which a 
yellow dye is introduced from the ripe fruit of the Borassus 


or fan-palm. In Fuka they tap rubber trees and trade across 
the boundary, but not in Gwari or Koro markets. 

In Zaria a certain trade in tobacco is done by Haussa traders. 
The Kadara themselves drink and smoke less than the Gwari. 

They are great hunters and from time to time organise big 

The buildings are of mud, with grass roofs that rise from 
the outer porch to the dome over the granary. The entrance 
is through a porch laid with shards and oval doorways, three 
feet high, that are screened by zana which slide into grooves 
in the wall. Within is a long room, then a narrow transverse 
passage used as a store, and a square inner room, in the centre 
of which is the hearth. Immediately above it, at the height 
of four feet from the ground, is the floor of the granary which 
is divided into compartments arranged radially round the 
vertical chimney, which is the only means of access thereto.* 

In Fuka the villages are all situated in dense forests and are 
formed by a series of long oblong huts, with open spaces between 

The men are clothed, but the women believe clothes to be 
prejudicial to child-birth and go naked, except, in the case of 
virgins, for a tail-like tassel of string strung with cowries, which 
hangs in front. They put large pieces of wood in the lobes of 
their ears. 

The tribal marks consist of three lines radiating from each 
side of the mouth. 

They look to the spirits of their ancestors to help them in 
this life and to intercede for them in the next. 

Each family has a large vault, consisting of a chamber hollowed 
out at the bottom of a well. When each fresh burial takes 
place, the bones of the previous occupant are collected and laid 
aside to make room for the new comer. Food and drink are 
offered at the graves of the dead. 

The Kadara have a distinctive language, though Haussa is 
very generally understood, but in Fuka Gwari is spoken in 
addition. The tongue of the Kuturmi is different. 



Mr. D. Cator. Mr. Y. Kirkpatrick. 

Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

The Kagoma occupy an area of 166 square miles in the Jemaa 
Emirate, Nassarawa Province, where they have a population 
of some 4,500, men being slightly in preponderance over women. 

* Compare Kagoro. 

TRIBES. 181 

It has been suggested that they formed part of a large group 
which migrated from the north-west of Zaria, which includes the 
Kagoro, Attakka, Jaba, Kaje, Kaura and Moroa, to whom 
they show a certain affinity in language, customs and dress. 

They speak a dialect of their own, and the majority know 
Haussa also. 

Their Chief, ' Dem," pointed out to Osuman, first Emir 
of Jemaa, the desirability of the site, and voluntarily paid tribute 
to Zaria through Jemaa. Circ. 1859 A - D - they ceased to pay, 
and a large proportion of the population were burnt out in caves 
in the resulting .punitive expedition. Small raids continued 
until 1894, when they were finally subdued by the Filane and 
acknowledged the suzerainty of the Emir of Jemaa, to whom the 
Kagoma District head is now responsible. 

The two acknowledged crimes were murder and theft. A 
murderer was required to give a bull to the bereaved family, 
whilst a thief was detained until his relatives paid a horse to 
the Sarkin Jemaa and two goats to his captors. 

They are excellent agriculturists. Boys are given miniature 
hoes at the age of three years old. 

They are of good physique. 

The men wear a triangular shaped leather loin-covering, 
or a skin that hangs from the shoulder, and bind their beards 
with grass. They carry wooden swords. 

Virgins wear an apron of green strings ornamented with 
cowries and brass bells. Married women wear a loin-cloth. 

Nearly all the villages are situated on the tops of ti e hills, 
amongst almost inaccessible rocks. The huts are of mud, sur- 
mounted by conical-shaped grass roofs. The interior is divided 
into three partitions by means of mud-arches projecting from 
the wall.* 

A girl may be betrothed before her birth, the fiance undertaking 
that should the unborn babe prove to be a boy he will be its 
friend all through life. Such an arrangement is, however, of 
rare occurrence, the custom being for a girl to be engaged to 
the first man who gives her parents a fowl and bespeaks her 
after her birth. The suitor further gives her father a hoe or 
2,000 cowries every year, until the girl has arrived at marriageable 
age at about ten years ; as the marriage day approaches he 
gives the bride's father a further present of five chickens. 
On the day itself, six of his boy friends enter her parents' 
house, where she is hidden amongst the women, find and capture 
her, and take her to one of the groom's female relations. They 
return at night, give the custodian a chicken and take the bride 
to the groom's house, where he is awaiting her with throe male 
friends who proceed to address the young pair on the duties 

* Vide Jaba, p. 163. 


of marriage before leaving them alone together. The following 
morning the groom's mother gives a feast to the inmates of her 
own house, and a month later the bride's mother sends two 
calabashes of tuo to her son-in-law's house, whence he distributes 
them to his friends and to the elders of the village as proof that 
the marriage has taken place. 

When a man marries a second time the above formula is 
omitted. He gives the girl's parents a hoe and 4,000 cowries, 
after which the girl goer, to him of her own accord, but if she 
delays doing so for more than a year after the dower is paid 
he can claim it back. 

Desertion is considered no crime, and if a woman leaves her 
husband soon after the marriage, the dower is refunded to him 
by his wife's parents, but if she has remained with him for 
four or five years he has no claim. Her new husband pays her 
parents a hoe and 4,000 cowries. 

The difficulties that have arisen from this laxity of morals 
are met by the following device. 

" As far as this district is concerned the idea of forming a 
Dodo ' society originally started in the village of Agabi, 
a number of years ago. Two men were bewailing the fact that 
their wives were constantly running away from them and that 
their children were getting out of hand. They put their heads 
together to seek a remedy. 

' Eventually they took a gourd from the ' Kukan Chikki ' 
tree, and after scraping it hollow, placed some kind of parchment 
over its mouth. In the middle of the night this was blown with 
terrifying effect (the noise is very like that produced by a comb 
and piece of paper). The women were very frightened and hid 
themselves. They were subsequently told this was the voice 
of the ' Dodo '- a mythical spirit well known in Haussaland 
rebuking them for their misdeeds. The women all promised 

' The news of the Agabi ' Dodo ' soon spread and people 
came in from the neighbouring villages, curious to hear all about 
it. Men were let into the secret, but had to swear under penalty 
of death never to tell their women or children the real origin 
of this new-found power over them. 

' The ' Dodo ' soon became universal in every village, 
and each had its own particular ' kurmi,' where ' Dodo ' 
gatherings took place. This tended to still further impress and 
mystify the women. Only married men were eligible for election, 
and not until they had been married for two or three years. 

" As a rule, initiation into the ' Dodo ' society was reserved 
until such time as there were some ten or twenty young married 
men ready to be elected. Their wives were informed of the 
impending ceremony, and on the appointed day had to cook 
goats or chickens provided by the candidates. The cooked 

TRIBES. 183 

meat was left at the respective houses, and all the members 
of the society, followedb3/the candidates, proceeded to the dreaded 
kurmi. The candidates were collected in the middle of the 
kurmi, surrounded by the rest and, as a preliminary, savagely 
Hogged. Not unnaturally, shrieks rent the air to which the 
elected all added their own voices, so that the medley of sound 
penetrated to the village beyond and terrified the women and 
children. When the tumult had died down, the candidates were 
made to lie down in the kurmi, still surrounded by the others. 
Each in turn was made to raise his head and was asked by the 
head of his family if he had seen the ' Dodo.' As a rule the 
belaboured youth was too frightened to answer. The questioner 
then produced the gourd, blew on it, and said, ' I, myself, am 
the " Dodo." He would then hand the gourd to the youth and 
bid him blow it, saying, ' Now you are the ' Dodo." This 
procedure was gone through with each candidate in turn. They 
were then told that the whole society was really a conspiracy 
to keep their women folk in subjection, that they had only 
been flogged to heighten the illusion, and were instructed to 
do the same to future candidates. Finally each candidate had 
to take a solemn oath under pain of death that he would never 
reveal the secret. The initiation was then over. 

' The newly elected then went back to their houses to get the 
prepared meat, which was ostensibly for the ' Dodo,' but 
was in reality eaten by the men in the kurmi, who, if they could 
not eat it all, were obliged to leave the remainder in the kurmi, 
as the ' Dodo ' was said to have a voracious appetite. A 
dance was afterwards held outside the kurmi in which both 
sexes took part. 

' No woman dared to approach the kurmi. If she had done 
so, she would have been caught and killed. During the initiation 
ceremony it was patrolled by sentries outside. 

' That the oath binding the society together is no light one 
is shown by the following incident. 

" Some years ago a newly-elected member managed to convey 
some of the ' Dodo's ' meat out of the kurmi, and was asked 
by his wife where he got it. A man overheard this conversation 
and got the wretched youth back into the Kurmi, where he was 
instantly beaten to death and buried. The women were told 
' Dodo ' had swallowed him. The men all pretended to lament 
his fate, and told the women to bring plenty of water and they 
would give it to ' Dodo ' to drink, on the chance that he would 
vomit the youth up again. All day the women brought water 
to the edge of the kurmi, where the men took it from them, and, 
retreating into the kurmi, simply poured it away. In the 
evening they told the women it was no good. ' Dodo ' refused 
to bring the youth up ! 


" Each candidate on election is given a gourd, but as it was 
foreseen that indiscriminate blowing would soon familiarise 
the women with the ' Dodo's ' voice, no one is permitted to 
blow the gourd without the Magajin Dodo's consent. 

' Each village has its ' Dodo ' head-man, known as the 
Magajin Dodo. He is the supreme domestic authority and no 
woman, not even his wife, is allowed to enter what is designated 
as his ' Dodo ' room. The office is hereditary and as a rule 
descends from father to son. The Magajin Dodo always wears 
a goat-skin slung across his back. He is naturally an object 
of much awe to the women folk, who endeavour to propitiate 
him with frequent gifts of ' gia,' so that the venerable gentleman 
is often to be encountered in a hopelessly drunken condition. 
It is to him that husbands appeal when their wives turn 
refractory, and a visit from the dreaded ' Dodo ' invariably 
produces the desired effect. When the Magaji visits a disobedient 
wife, he is always accompanied by one of his four subordinates, 
called Magadda in Kagoma. The visit is prearranged and 
the husband plays the part of a willing accomplice in the ensuing 

' The approaching visit of the ' Dodo ' is announced to 
the husband by a messenger sent on in front for that purpose. 
The husband professes to be very frightened and advises his 
wives to fly and hide in the nearest refuge. (This is so that they 
shall not be far away when wanted.) On the arrival of the ' Dodo ' 
the erring wife is sent for. Should she refuse to come, the 
' Dodo ' approaches her hiding-place, and addresses his 
warning ; the uncouth sounds made on the gourd being solemnly 
translated to her by the subordinate who acts as interpreter 
throughout. A warning is generally sufficient, but should the 
wife transgress again the ' Dodo ' will order her to be beaten. 

' To further impress these simple and credulous women with 
his powers, the Magajin Dodo will sit outside his house and carry 
on a conversation with the ' Dodo ' who is inside. This is 
done, of course, by hiding a man inside the house who makes 
the necessary sounds on the gourd."* 

There is no limit to the number of wives that may be kept, 
and the first takes precedence over the rest. They are not allowed 
to eat meat, or much salt, lest they should become fat and therefore 

On the day that a woman gives birth to a child both she 
and it are bathed in cold water. Two days later the family-head, 
i.e., the eldest male member of the family, names the child, 
of whichever sex it be, except in the case of twins, who are named 
two months after birth by the oldest man in the village. On 

* Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

TRIBES. 185 

the day that they begin to walk their father invites the whole 
village to a beer orgy. 

The ceremonies that take place upon death are identical 
with those practised by the Jaba. A Kagoma widow, however, 
only mourns for one month and can marry again in the second. 
Under no circumstances can a woman inherit. 

They believe that a departed spirit can return to earth as 
a shooting star and re-enter upon a fresh sphere of human 

Sons inherit the whole property, but the younger brother 
of the deceased has the first choice of the widows. Failing 
sons, brothers inherit. 

They believe in an all-powerful god. 


Mr. H. F. Mathews. Major Tremearne. 

The Kagoro have a population approaching some 8,500 
in number and occupy an area of about no square miles in the 
Jemaa Division, on the northern and western faces of a ridge 
of mountains, known as Kagoro, which runs from Bauchi into 

Most of the towns are built at the foot of these hills, where 
the land is very fertile and large crops of corn, principally maiwa, 
which is almost exclusively used for drink, and beans are raised. 
The beans are the property of the women and are grown on 
trellises, like vines, and form the principal food of the people. 
Manure from fowls, and goat-dung and ashes are used. Cattle 
are not kept and there are no markets. 

In old days the Kagoro lived underground and went to their 
farms through underground tunnels, owing, they say, to the 
place being over-run with wild beasts. The villages are now 
surrounded with high cactus hedges, which grow to a height 
of from twelve to fifteen feet. In most cases each compound 
and each field is encircled by one of these. At the entrance the 
hedges overlap on the principle of a swivel-ring for keys. The 
walls of the huts are of mud and the roofs of thatch, which latter 
are renewed every year after the harvest. Each woman has 
her own house, which is accessible through one, or sometimes 
two, doors, two and a half to three feet in height. The entrance 
commonly leads into a low narrow verandah, but sometimes 
straight into a sort of hall which runs along the whole width 
of the house, and is used for storing pots, etc. A feature of 
the doorways is that each one is double and in between each is 


a hollow groove where a mat or shield might be fixed. Within 
the hall is a bigger apartment, with a mud shelf over the inner 
doorway, and with a low wooden bed of palm fronds or bamboo 
on either side one for the wife, the other for her family. The 
inner walls are only some three or four feet high and are either 
made of red mud or mud blackened with charcoal. Sticks or 
horns are stuck in them as pegs and the women use low wooden 
stools. Another double doorway leads to an inner chamber, 
which is much higher and contains a mud granary on little legs. 
There is a circular passage way round this, which is sometimes 
ceilinged and above which is an attic. The granary is always 
to the south and the roof is supported by bamboo poles; an 
egg or bottle is commonly put at the apex for luck. From the 
outside the huts appear to be round in shape, with the addition 
of the low oblong verandah roof. The floors, and sometimes 
the whole compound, are trampled hard, and bits of shard or 
even cowries are added for ornament. Outside the entrance 
palm logs, some six feet in length, are let into the ground perpen- 
dicularly, and are used as palaver centres. 

The Kagoro are small in stature, the men slim and well built, 
the women ungainly. As a race they are debased by excessive 
drinking. Their heads are somewhat conical in shape, as infants' 
heads are massaged to prevent their becoming broad, like those 
of load-carriers whom they despise. 

Women have their heads shaved from the time they are six 
years old, and at the age of seven or eight their lips are pierced 
for the reception of small wooden plugs about one inch in diameter 
and three-quarters of an inch in depth. These are, however, not 
universally worn. Young girls wear a loose girdle of native 
string, which is exchanged for a bunch of leaves in front and 
a thick stem of plaited palm fibre with a broad base behind, 
hung from two strings. This is a symbol of marriage, though 
very old women may discard it in favour of leaves. Widows 
are obliged to exchange it for leaves during the period of mourning, 
which lasts from ten to sixty days, when they must also allow 
their hair to grow and plaster their bodies with red earth and 

Beads and horse-hair are made into necklaces, beads and 
beans into finger- rings. Open brass bracelets and ear-rings 
of blue glass beads, string or sticks, are worn by both sexes, 
the latter only in a man's left ear. Old women sometimes wear 
an iron band round the calf of the leg, while men wear light 
iron chains round their necks and waists, especially when they 
are courting. 

Both sexes smear their bodies with red earth, and for feasts 
men habitually coat their legs with it to the knee, while women 
add a black stripe an inch wide from forehead to navel, and some- 
times an additional narrow line on both sides. These lines may 

TRIBES. 187 

be divided into three, but otherwise there is no variation. The 
pigment used is from the unripe kernel of the gaude (Gardenia 
thumbergia}. The face is, moreover, ornamented with beads, 
tin or coloured earth. They seldom wash, if ever. Men wear 
triangular tanned leather loin-coverings, or a skin which hangs 
from one shoulder to the back of the knee, the front legs being 
tied together loosely so that its owner may easily shift it to 
protect the exposed side of his body. This is usually made 
of goat-skin on which the hair is left. Hats made of plaited 
palm- fibres are also frequently worn. A cape made of palm 
leaves is used by both sexes as a protection against rain. None 
but Chiefs under Government wear cloth, and these have Haussa 

Youths generally shave their heads, except for a broad ridge 
of hair from the forehead to the nape of the neck. No shaving 
is done during harvest time, but at other seasons the men from 
time to time shave off their moustaches, but usually wear a 

The tribal marks are the same lor both sexes and are inflicted 
at certain epochs in their lives the boys have their foreheads 
scanned when they are able to hoe. A girl has her chest and 
back marked on reaching marriageable age, and her forehead 
when she goes to her husband. In old days the marks consisted 
of irregular cuts on the forehead only, but two generations ago 
a skilful Katab operator invented a pattern which has been 
adopted by Kagoro, Attaka, Moroa arid Kajii, as well as by 
his own people. It consists of numerous short perpendicular 
cuts along the forehead from ear to ear, and thirteen or more 
long slanting lines on each cheek from ear to chin. The incisions 
are painted with soot. 

The customs of the above-mentioned neighbouring tribes 
have many points of similarity, and the language of the Kagoro 
is similar to that of the Attakka and Moroa, and resembles that 
of the Katab and Kajji. Haussa is spoken by a few individuals 

It has been suggested that, in common with the Attakka, 
the Kagoro own Bauchi as their country of origin, that a long 
while ago they migrated to Nimbia in South Nassarawa and 
thence to their present location. In matters of dress, tribal 
marks, architecture, customs and language they show, however, 
obvious affinity to the Katab and Kajji tribes in the north-west, 
who trace their migrations from the north. 

They have always retained their independence, though 
they suffered defeats at the hands of the Kajji and from the 
Filane, of Jemaa. They would, however, probably have been 
conquered by the latter had not a Filane mallam foreseen in 
a drearn that whoever should subjugate them would die. 


The Kagoro are fine warriors and from boyhood upwards 
practise games of war, throwing stones, taking cover, wrestling, 
scouting, etc. Before the commencement of a war a general 
is appointed, and if they have entered into alliance with others 
the originating tribe takes command. Scouts are used and a 
reserve is kept, and if they are driven out from a town they 
smash the hives so that the bees may settle on the invaders. 

Boulders are rolled down from the hills, slings and stones, 
knives, wooden clubs and bows and arrows are all used in warfare. 
These latter have iron heads with flanges, and the shafts are 
so notched that each warrior cart recognise his own arrow. It 
is said that they did not know the use of bows and arrows before 
their migration, and that they only learnt to use arrow-poison 
from the Attakka at the end of the nineteenth century. Stockades 
are unknown. Round hide and fibre shields are used for defensive 

When about to enter upon a treaty of peace each party 
constructs a broom of grass, similar to that used for lighting 
fires, so that the foe may be exposed if treachery at night is 
contemplated. The principals then advance to the boundary, 
each bringing with him a he-goat, the throat of which is cut and 
the blood smeared on a certain tree or stone, over which three 
incantations have already been uttered. The heads and skins 
are set aside for the benefit of the respective high-priests, and 
the rest of the meat is divided lengthwise, one half of each goat 
being eaten by the opposing forces, who are seated at some 
distance from one another. They then separate, each party 
being accompanied by three hostages, whose persons are regarded 
as sacred. 

The elders of the tribe selected as Chief one of their royal blood, 
subject to the British Resident's approval, that is to say since 
1905, when the first British expedition marched against them. 
Prior to the British occupation they had once appealed to the 
Sarkin Jemaa as an impartial authority to settle a dispute con- 
cerning the appointment of their Chief, but with that exception 
conducted their own affairs through councils of heads of families, 
who composed the courts and advised the Chief. Until the 
beginning of the nineteenth century they had no Chief, but 
at that time the Kaje inflicted a severe defeat upon them and 
exacted an annual tribute of two slaves. The elders each gave 
a child from his family in rotation, until a man named Gundong 
said that if he were made Chief he would provide the tribute. 
He then struck a cotton tree, from which a young man and maiden 
magically issued, and he founded the dynasty of Kagoro Kings. 
It is related that the tree withered on the day of his death. 

However that may be, the Kaje did not long receive their 
tribute, but every year subjected the defaulters to a slave raid. 
From, this time the Kagoro themselves took to slave-raiding 

TRIBES. 189 

and head-hunting, and no man of the tribe is fully accredited 
until he has taken a human head; that of a monkey, hartebeeste, 
or one or two kinds of bok are accepted as a substitute. 

Slaves were treated as members of the family, whether 
they were captured in war or given for four years service in 
payment of a debt. The former only were liable to be sold. 
The average prices given were, for an old woman, 8,000 cowries 
= 45. ; for an old man, 10,000 cowries = 55. ; for a virgin, 
16,000 cowries = 8s. ; for a young man, 20,000 cowries = ios., 
prices which compare unfavourably with those which horses 
would command, i.e., 100,000 cowries = 503., or even bulls, 
20,000 cowries = ios. 

It is the duty of the elders to settle boundaries, but an 
interloper is only punished, divinely, by failure of crops. Private 
quarrels are settled by vendetta, and the only crimes for which 
communal punishment is meted out are those against religion. 
These are punished by stoning to death black magic by choking. 
The high priest, or ' Meakwap," is in fact more powerful 
than the Chief, and it is he who regulates and administers trial 
by ordeal. It takes the form of a calabash of poison ; the innocent 
vomits and is saved, the guilty dies. 

The ordinary form of oath is for a man to hold ashes, or 
corn, in his hand, and pray either that if he lies he may become 
as white as the ashes, or be killed by the next corn he eats. They 
say that in old times they were not so wicked, and observed many 

The Kagoro have no theory as to the origin of man, but 
they have heard of a great flood. 

They believe that all souls survive and become ghosts, but 
that they may be reborn in the body of a descendant, male or 
female, when they live once more as ordinary mortals. The 
ghosts are thought to inhabit the sacred groves and hills, that 
they have no houses, but retain their voice and appearance, 
and ride, hunt, and fight as of old. They are always hungry 
and thirsty, and their descendants offer them food and drink, 
for neglect would be followed by punishment. They are con- 
stantly consulted, particularly about war and hunting, by the 
elders, who spend three days in the sacred grove, when quantities 
of gia is drunk. 

They are also propitiated when a compound is built on fresh 
ground. The father of the family first chooses the site and places 
stones where the granaries are to be, the blood of a fowl is then 
spilt and leaves of the 'nok " tree (for luck), are buried on 
the chosen spot. The big men come and gia is poured over the 
site three times, and three incantations are made to invoke the 
aid of the ancestors^ and of those dead who might be buried in 
the vicinity. A drinking bout follows. Likewise when land 
is first farmed an offering of gia is made and when the corn is 


ripening a fowl is sacrificed and its blood, together with the 
leaves of the ' Karran-Kwoi " and " tongwa," is put in a 
hole in the centre of the farm. 

The spirits are subject to Gwaza, the supreme and beneficent 
god who helps the living against evil ghosts. In drought the 
people pray to him for rain, facing first to the south, and then 
to the other points of the compass. The priests kill a fowl and 
place its blood, with a few of its feathers, on a stone two feet 
high in the sacred grove (at times some of its flesh is added), 
gia is then thrown three times on each corner of the stone and 
three incantations are spoken. Gwaza is believed to consume 
the offering and the petition is always granted. 

When the new moon rises the people pray to Gwaza for health 
and luck, and rejoice, but on this occasion no beer is drunk. 
They believe that the sun is a ball of fire, which falls into the 
water at night and becomes extinguished, but that it travels 
back to the east at night, at a higher level, and gets fresh fire 
from the supreme god. If a tree or house is set on fire by lightning 
the people must put out their old fires and kindle them afresh 
from this heavenly source. 

The Kagoro believe that there is a stream dividing life from 
death, and that when a man falls sick his soul leaves his body 
and journeys to this stream, where the spirits of the dead, who 
are assembled on the further shore, decide whether he may 
cross the bridge. Sometimes the decision is so long delayed that 
the spirit shrinks, and when it returns to the body has lost its 
full command. A first husband and wife will always come to 
the brink of the stream to greet the other, and both parents will 
come to welcome an unmarried child. 

The soul leaves the body during sleep, as is proved both by 
dreams and by the fact that a person suddenly awakened has 
not full command of his faculties, which shows that the soul 
has not had time to return to the body. It is possible that the 
wandering soul may be caught and beaten, or its bowels or 
liver taken to a magic cave in the grove by the souls of evil 
men, who devour it. These evil souls glow like fire, which light 
is visible to the priests alone. When summoned to the injured 
man the priest calls out several names and the afflicted recognises 
that of his tormentor, who is summoned and shut into a room 
where a fire is burning, on which pepper is thrown, and there he 
is left until he promises restitution. If he fails to keep his promise 
he is sold as a slave, or choked. 

No inanimate object has a soul, but the souls of animals may 
be born into the children of their slayer it is doubtful, however, 
whether they can leave the living body. 

Women and children are not allowed near the sacred groves, 
nor may they speak of spirits under penalty of death. 

TRIBES. 191 

When they are about ten years old boys are initiated in 
these mysteries. They are first shaved, greased and beaten, 
and are then taken to the sacred grove, but they may not yet 
drink with the men. They leave the grove and dance all night, 
and dancing and drinking goes on for another seven days, when 
they return to their houses, but they may not speak to a woman 
till another seven days have elapsed. 

They do not marry until they are sixteen or eighteen years 
of age, their brides being three or four years younger. The 
procedure is for the suitor to give the girl's father from four 
to ten thousand cowries when he proposes. If he is accepted he 
adds one hoe, one goat, one dog and the flesh of another goat 
to the gift an average example which varies according to the 
wealth of the contracting parties. Beer is prepared by his people, 
and taken on the wedding day to the bride's house, where drinking 
goes on for from one to ten days. On the first day the mother 
takes her daughter to the young man's house for a brief visit, ard 
receives a complimentary present of 2,000 cowries or a hoe later 
he comes to her house and on the second day he takes his 
wife to his own house where she remains. There is intermarriage 
between certain tribes, i.e., the Attakka, Moroa, Kaje and Katab, 
but a Kagoro man will prefer a maiden of his own or of the Attakka 
tribe, because the others refuse to clear grass for the farms. 
A virgin may only marry during the wet season, after the seed 
has been sown. At the end of the millet farming she puts on 
her married woman's costume and her husband celebrates the 
occasion by killing a dog and eating its head, liver, entrails and 
legs, while he gives the neck to those that helped him in courtship, 
and the remainder to his father-in-law. The blood of slaughtered 
beasts is always eaten, cooked with fat. If the wife is considered 
satisfactory her husband gives her mother another present. A 
girl has the right of refusal and can obtain a divorce, subject 
to her father's consent, for he retains the legal power to persuade 
her to go back to her husband, to leave him, or to marry her 
to someone else. He also has the right of possession over her 
children, unless her husband redeems them by payment of three 
goats each. This practice has been put down by the British 

Children are suckled for two or three years. Boys are named 
by their father and are circumcised, a very old custom. If 
a child proves unsound before it is about four years old, or some- 
times later, it is thought to be a snake and may be thrown into 
water. Twins are considered very lucky. 

A man's first wife has authority over subsequent wives and 
may even beat them, a right so fully recognised that, if these 
latter forget themselves so far as to retaliate, their parents give 
her beer. The women all eat together, helping themselves with 
their right hands, for men alone are allowed the use of spoons. 


Guinea-fowl and francolin are not eaten, nor may women eat 
dogs or fowls, though these restrictions do not apply to old 
women. Rats, mice, and bats are made into soup and eaten 
with the ashes of guinea-corn or millet, which is sometimes used 
in place of salt. The favourite drink besides gia is honey and 
millet, and palm wine. 

The pith of wild paw-paw is used to heal wounds, and a 
hot iron is applied to an aching tooth to make it come out easily. 
No amputations are performed. 

When a death occurs women wail and horns are blown. The 
corpse is wrapped in a new mat of plaited palm leaves, and men 
carry it to the grave amid shouting, blowing and drumming, 
while the women and children remain indoors. The Chief Priest 
wishes the spirit of the dead and the bereaved family well, and 
the body is lowered into a grave shaped like a prayer-board, 
either close to the porch of the house if the dead had had children, 
or outside under the shelter of the wall. 

Males are laid on their right, females on their left, sides, 
with faces towards the sacred grove. Sticks are placed over 
the mouth of the grave and are plastered with clay. Branches 
of shea and lunn trees are intertwined and placed on the grave, 
and a pole bearing the family skulls is set up. A goat, or in 
the case of a poor man a fowl, is killed, and the flesh divided 
amongst the relatives, whose presence is required. In old days 
on the death of a big man, people were killed at the funeral that 
their spirits might accompany his. The skulls were left on the 
grave till the flesh was gone, when they were added to the family 

After seven days the bereaved relatives make beer, and four 
days later a pot of it is brought to the grave, on which fresh shea 
and lunn branches are laid, and the most important elder present 
pours some over the grave, saying mystic words the while, 
three several times. A goat or fowl is again killed and the blood 
poured over the branches. The flesh is cooked and eaten, and the 
beer drunk by the men, who sit round in a circle. The remainder 
of the beer is consumed in the sacred grove, the women and 
children drinking in their own houses, while a perpetual sound 
of horns and drumming is maintained. 

On the occasion of the first harvest after a burial, gia and 
acha flour and water ar^ poured over the grave and another 
drinking festival held. Subsequently if anyone dreams of the 
dead beer must be similarly obtained. 

A grown-up man inherits his father's house, and such wives 
as his father's brothers may not care to take. In the event of 
the sons being children the deceased's eldest brother manages 
the property for them. 

TRIBES. 193 


The Kaibi inhabit the western part of the Guri Smbu hills, 
in the Sarkin Kauru District, southern division of Zaria Province, 
together with their neighbours the Rishua, Ruruma, and Rumaya 
(Dan Galadima District) , each of whom speak their own language 
or dialect. 

They are all pagans, but a few of the Rumaya have become 
converts to Islam. 

They were first administered in 1907 and are described as 
backward peoples. 

The only notes concerning them refer to the Kaibi. 

Betrothals are made when the principals are children. It 
is customary for the girl to sow corn and rice and carry them 
when harvested to her suitor. 

The marriage is celebrated when the couple have attained 

A man accused of murder was conducted to the tsafi place 
outside the town, and asked whether he could swear his innocence 
by the great god Kashiri, on an arrow, in the following terms. 
' I swear by Kashiri that this is the truth. If I lie may this 
arrow kill me. When I shoot may the arrow turn backwards 
from my bow and pierce my body and kill me." 



Mr. D. Cator. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

Capt. J. M. Fremantle. Major Tremearne. 
Mr. Y. Kirkpatrick. Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Kaje or Kajji, occupy an area of some 166 square miles 
in the Jemaa Emirate of Nassarawa Province, where they number 
some 6,000, men being in preponderance over women, and the 
Maaji District of Zaria Emirate, where, together with the Jaba, 
they number some 2,000. 

They have a tradition that they once lived on a big river, 
and that they took part in a general migration from West to 
East, though Zaria is mentioned vaguely as their place of origin. 

They show affinity to the Katab, Kagoro, Moroa and Attakka 
tribes, though at one time they conducted successful warfare 
against the Kagoro. Those still living in Zaria Province state 
that many groups broke off from the main body. 

Though they are closely allied to and irftermarry with the 
Attakka their languages are distinct. They all speak Haussa. 


Their first acquaintance with the Filane was when some 
settlers of that race came to their country at Kachicharri and 
paid certain irregular tribute of cattle to the Kaje. 

At the outbreak of the Jihad, however, they were invaded 
by the Filane who came and settled near Mount Daroro. The 
Kaje decided to wipe them all out, but the plot was betrayed 
by the Filane concubine of Sarkin Indema and her compatriots 
escaped. She, herself, suffered condign punishment, being 
thrown into a hole which was filled up with stones and she was 
thus buried alive. 

When the Filane settled at Jemaa in the same neighbourhood, 
the Kaje again tried to turn them out, circ. 1812 A.D., but were 
ultimately defeated some of them fled into Zaria Province, 
and the main body to Sanga, south-east of Jemaa. 

The Kaje were situated on both sides of the Zaria-Nassarawa 
boundary when the Filane Emir of Zaria, Abdul Karimi, circ. 
1835 A.D., sent a force against them at their principal town 
of Kurmin Bi, to exact tribute. An arrangement was come to, 
but circ. 1849 Mohman Sani, then Emir of Zaria, led a punitive 
expedition against them and told the southern section to follow 
the Sarkin Jemaa, since which time they have had no recognised 
tribal Chief. In 1858 they were again recalcitrant and 
Audu, Emir of Zaria, finally broke them. Since 1870 the Jemaa 
Kaje have been ruled, nominally at least, by Jekada from Jemaa, 
and in 1912 they were induced to acknowledge the practical 
suzerainty of the Sarkin Jemaa and accepted, as district head, 
Liman Umoru, a Filane of Jemaa. 

In old days each village was governed by a council of elders 
and an hereditary village Chief. This office was, however, 
usually vacated after a few years, the Chief nominating the 
most capable member of his family to be his successor and himself 
retiring to a seat on the council. An office bearer called Tagama 
(Magajin Mutua) judged all disputes and apportioned farm-lands, 
to which the occupant and his heirs had exclusive right so 
long as the land was cultivated. It was not uncommon, however, 
for the occupant to lease his land, practically as a matter of 
goodwill, for he only received a pot of beer, which lease was 
terminable by either party after the dawa harvest ; no woman 
might hold land. 

There was a regular system of punishment of crime, but 
there were only three legal offences : Theft from a storehouse, 
murder and adultery. The two latter were alike punishable by 
death or by banishment. 

A thief's family paid a horse to the village head, who was 
the judge in all judicial affairs. 

A murderer was expelled from the village for two years; 
he was sent first to Kurmin Bi, thence to Sakwot, thence to 
Fadan Kagoma, where he worked on the Kagoma farms. He 

TRIBES. 195 

was then allowed to return to his village on giving an expiatory 
feast to the Elders, but might neither eat nor drink with other 
men for the rest of his life. 

In a case of adultery the injured man could demand the 
death of both the guilty parties, otherwise they were banished 
for life, being treated as dogs and fed with scraps out of broken 
vessels until they were drummed out of the place by old women. 
Oath was taken by jumping forwards and backwards over 
a sword, an arrow, a skull, and the leaf of the male shea-butter 

Inheritance was to the male heirs in the following order : 
Sons, brothers, nephews, grand-children failing these to the 
Chief. It was, however, common for a man to give his property 
away in his life-time, when he became a pensioner to the recipient. 
A brother or son inherited the deceased's widows, but with 
that exception a man might not marry the widow of any member 
of his clan. 

In appearance the Kaje is slim and of fair physique, he is 
well built, but his extreme drunkenness has left a mark on the 
skull formation. 

The men wear a short gown or leather loin-cloth and the 
youths plait their hair and ornament it with beads. The women 
shave their heads and wear a leather string round the waist 
to which is attached a wide cone with a wooden base. That 
of a Chief's daughter is bound with copper wire and the base 
is adorned with beads the poorer women bind it with bamboo. 
When working on their farms this is discarded and the married 
women each morning pluck a wisp of vetch, some two feet long, 
and tuck it under the waist-belt leaving six inches hanging in 
front, while the long end is pulled back between the thighs so 
that it sticks out like a tail. Girls wear a small apron of cowrie 
shells. In Zaria the women wear wooden plugs in their upper 
and lower lips. 

They are excellent farmers and breeders of livestock. They 
manure the ground with dung from goats and fowls, and ashes. 
They are keen hunters (possessing a few horses), and are expert 
highway robbers, but they respect any property left on the road 
if a leaf of the male shea-butter tree has been placed upon it. 

Their arms are the bow and arrow. 

They live in compounds surrounded by high cactus hedges. 
The house and granary is in one, the former being entered through 
a low narrow verandah, which leads into a sort of hall, where 
pots are stored, and which runs along the whole width of the house. 
Within this is a bigger sleeping apartment, and within again 
a circular passage sometimes roofed with an attic above, enclosing 
the corn-bin. Between each room is a double doorway two 
and a half to three feet in height, in the grooves of which a mat 
or shield could be placed. The houses are of mud and the roofs 


are thatched, sloping up at the back to an angle of forty-five 
degrees. A house is not re-occupied after the death either of 
its owner or of his wife. 

The family system is patriarchal, and the head of a house 
has absolute jurisdiction over it? members. 

They worship their ancestors and observe various fetish. 
The chief priest lives at Kurmin Bi, and the second one to him 
at Bunkua, but each group shares a common place of worship. 
Muhammadanism is penetrating amongst them. They are 

A girl is betrothed at the age of seven, when the suitor gives 
her father three chickens and is. Later on he again gives a 
hoe, a goat and ios.; and on the wedding day, when she is about 
ten years old, pays a final contribution of four chickens. 

A bag of cowries and two hoes are also an ordinary dower. 

A form of capture of the bride is sometimes gone through, 
but the girl cannot be detained against her will, and the groom 
returns to give her father the customary presents. Ordinarily 
her parents take the bride to the groom's house, where 
he cuts up a goat and distributes its flesh amongst his guests, 
who then retire. The bride is not allowed the right of refusal, 
but no steps are taken against her if she leaves her husband. 
The man to whom she goes pays a further dowry to her parents. 
Marriage can be terminated on the repayment of all moneys given. 
Consanguinity is an absolute bar. If a woman has already had 
a child, one horse is the price paid for her. Her first three 
children belong to her father, but can be redeemed by their 
own father for a bag of cowries and two goats each. Children 
are an acknowledged currency, a child of four years old does 
not command more than one goat. 

A mother and her new-born child are washed in cold water 
on the day of its birth. On the fourth day the mother takes 
her infant outside the house, where it is named in the presence 
of the women of the household. The father names a boy, the 
mother a girl, but the elders of the village perform that function 
in the case of twins. They assemble for the purpose on the 
seventh day and partake of a feast, for which the father provides 
a goat and beer. 

When a death occurs, women wail and horns are blown. The 
corpse is wrapped in a new mat of plaited palm-leaves and men 
carry it to the grave amid shouting, blowing and drumming, 
while the women and children remain indoors. The chief priest 
wishes the spirit of the dead and the bereaved family well , and 
the body is lowered into a grave shaped like a prayer board, 
either close to the porch of the house if the deceased had had 
children, otherwise outside under the shelter of the wall. The 
corpse is laid on its back, a man's face being turned towards the 

TRIBES. 197 

east, a woman's towards the west. A round stone covers the 
cavity. Goats and fowls are sacrificed on the death of a male. 

They believe that the souls of the dead can enter the womb 
of a living woman and be re-born. 

The Kaje are great dancers. Some of their dances are very 
intricate, the performers forming inner and outer circles, taking 
three steps forward and one step back, some wheeling to the 
right, others to the left, others crawling beneath the arms of 
the rest and threading their way in and out. The musicians 
stand within the inner circle. The instruments consist of drums 
and antelope horns with a side embouchure. These horns are 
some two or three feet long and are joined on to gourds eight 
to twelve inches in length. The band performs solos and concerted 
music. The older women dance singly, often carrying their 
babes, but the younger women and men catch hold of each 
other in rows of four. These festivities often end in a free fight. 


Capt. F. Byng-Hall. Capt. H. L. Norton-Traill. 

The Kakanda are located along the River Niger, from 
Bassa Province (where they are sometimes called Akanda, the 
initial " K " being dropped), as far north as Budon in the Agbaja 
Division of Kabba Province, where they number some 1,793, 
and across the river in the Lapai Emirate, Niger Province, where 
they number some 4,500. There are also a few (about 41) 
in Nassarawa. 

It has been claimed that they are of Nupe stock and speak 
a dialect of Nupe, but other authorities state that they are 
totally distinct and speak a different language. 

The Nupe say, however, that they have always lived together. 

The Kakanda of Kabba state that they broke off from the 
main body of their tribe * owing to a dispute as to succession, 
very early in the nineteenth century, that under the leader- 
ship of Iskapa and his brothers they left their tribal lands in the 
neighbourhood of Abinsi, then under the Jukon of Wukari, and 
travelled down the River Benue, and up the Niger to the 
neighbourhood of Budon, which town was founded by Iskapa 
after he had first paid a visit of ceremony to his relative, the 
Ata of Ida, under whose suzerainty he settled. The Chiefs of 
Budonf continued to pay tribute to Ida until the country was 

* Possibly the Afo. 

t All Kakanda were originally under Budon. 


conquered by Masaba of Nupe, about which time the Kakanda 
of Gori and Karege, and probably of Lapai, broke off from 
Budon, each paying independent tribute to Bida. 

The Kakanda tribal marks are identical with those of the 
Afo, consisting originally of two deep cuts on each side of the 
face from the temples to the corners of the mouth, and more 
recently of two cuts from the bridge of the nose to the cheeks, 
the side marks having been abandoned. 

The Kakanda in Lapai are, and have always been, a trading 
people and no fighters, but elsewhere they are a riverain people, 
whose speciality is fishing and canoeing. 

It is recorded from Bassa Province that the majority are 
pagans, using images in their worship, and being possessed by 
a profound belief in witchcraft. 

Muhammadanism is, however, rapidly spreading amongst 

In Lapai likewise they were originally pagans, but have 
mostly adopted the Muhammadan religion. 

Men and women alike wear a single cloth, which the latter 
wrap round them, whilst the former throw one end over the 

Bows and poisoned arrows are the tribal weapons. 

They are administered by a Kanawa Sarki, who was intro- 
duced by the British Government. 


The Kaleri are pagans inhabiting the Bukuru District 
Bauchi Province. They have a population of 7,000. 



Mr. H. F. Backwell. Mr. J. C. O. Clarke. 

Mr. G. C. Gerahty. Major W. Hamilton-Browne. 

The Kamberri spread over Kontagora Province from Koton- 
koro in the east to the banks of the Niger River, and northwards 
to Lafagu on the southern boundary of Sokoto Province. 

In the Sakaba Division there are some 2,646. A small number 
have settled in Muri Emirate, and (276) in the Lafia Emirate 
of Nassarawa Province. , 

The term Kambari (Kam = man ; Kambari = a Berber) 
is frequently applied : (a) to persons of Berber origin born in 
the west ; (b) to persons coming from any country formerly 

TRIBES. 199 

under the domination of Bornu (thus the Yoruba speak of all 
northerners as Gambari) ; (c) to those wearing tribal marks 
peculiar to Bornu and known as berri-berri. 

Hence a confusion arises between off-shoots of the pagan tribe 
of Kamberri (themselves possibly of Bornu origin, they are said 
to be related to the Atsifawa or Sef), and the Beri-beri proper. 
Thus the Kamberin beri-beri in Sokoto Province (Gummi, Zokwa 
town in Gando Division, Sokoto town, etc.), are entirely different 
from the Kamberri. Their ancestors came from Bornu and 
were inhabitants of Marabu prior to its conquest by the Sarkin 
Katsina na Yamma in the beginning of the nineteenth century. 
They abandoned their tribal customs for those of the Katsina 

There are 350 ' Kambarawa " notified from the Bauchi 
Emirate, pagans inhabiting the plains, who according 
to the Alkalin Gombe, are the same tribe as the Kamberri 
another section of whom is to be found between Womba and 
Jemaa in Yola Province and are Haussa speaking. 

It seems probable that they were formerly slaves of Rabeh. 

They are pagans and observe their principal festival on the 
occasion of the harvest, when a black he-goat, two white 
chickens, a red cock, and a brown hen are taken to the top of 
Dutchin Marabou, where they are killed and eaten. On the 
following Friday the people assemble in the town and kill a 
goat, the flesh of which they eat, and then bury the bones, 
together with those of the previous sacrifice which have been 
piled together in readiness, beneath a certain big stone. 

They have no religious observance for birth, marriage or 

Their tribal marks consist either of sixteen to seventeen 
thin lines in five rows one beneath the other on the left cheek 
and in six rows on the right ; or in five rows consisting on the 
left cheek of eleven lines by the mouth with two more rows of 
eleven above that, and fourteen and fifteen respectively above 
them; and on the right cheek twelve lines by the mouth, above 
which is a row of eleven, then thirteen, twelve and eleven, and 
in addition one line down the centre of the forehead to between 
the eyebrows. 

There is also a mention of ' Kambarawan Borgu " in Kon- 
tagora itself, whose origin is said to be Kanuri. Whether or 
not they are connected with the Kamberri is unknown. 

It is probable that the Kamberri are descendants of the 
Atsifawa and Katsinawa tribes and they still preserve a close 
connection with the Katsinawa. 

A section of these people came to Bussa about 1800 A.D., and, 
though said to be Kanuri by origin, appear to be closely allied 
with the Bussawa. They are pagans. 


The Lopawa are closely allied to the Kamberri in Bi 
They are pagans and farmers. 

It is suggested that the Kamberri come from the highlands 
between the south of Zaria and north of the Niger Province, from the 
same neighbourhood as the Bassa and Kamuku, while another 
version has it that they came from the Katsina country. The 
two theories are not incompatible, for the Kamuku themselves 
came from the state of Katsina. They are akin to the Dukawa. 

The tribal marks give little guidance, as they vary considerably 
and are now very generally abandoned by the men. Amongst 
some Kamberri they consist of three cuts on the cheeks, on the 
upper arm and on the forearm and breast, whilst from the Ngaski 
District one of the original forms is three faint lines arching 
across the forehead, and eight lines on each side of the mouth; 
these are worn alike by male and female, and the teeth are filed. 

The Kamberri have a distinct language, which bears a re- 
semblance in its numerals to that of the Dakkakarri, Atsifawa, 
and Bangawa, though the higher numbers appear to be a corrup- 
tion of Haussa. Haussa is universally known. 

In common with the aforementioned tribes the people carry 
loads on their shoulders rather than on their heads as is the more 
usual practice in Northern Nigeria. 

Also in common with the Bassa and Kamuku many 
Kamberri worship the god ' Mai-gero," but here again the 
practice is not invariable. Amongst the Kamberri of Ngaski 
District each town has its peculiar god. 

In Machupa town eleven gods are worshipped, of whom 
" Shende " is the principal " Makoshi Maishende " is the 
priest. The shrine is a silk cotton tree standing in a clearing 
amidst a dense, thorn-enclosed thicket, to which there is but 
one narrow entrance. Here a feast is held annually after the 
gero is cut, which is attended by both sexes, though the women 
sit at some little distance from the shrine. Every family-head 
brings a fowl and some gia. The priest holds the fowl's neck 
between the first and second fingers of his left hand and prays 
for general prosperity, particularly invoking the god's aid in 
hunting and farming (as is done with every other god), if the 
fowl flaps its wings it is taken as a sign that the prayer is heard 
and its throat is then cut, and its flesh stewed and eaten by all 
present. The gia is also drunk. Oath is not taken on Shendi 
or any other god but one Karnburra. 

" Kukweye " is also worshipped in Machupa. A feast, with 
similar rites to those described above, is celebrated annually 
by the priest Kagodde of Machupa just before the farming 
operations commence. 

The god Lata is worshipped, with the same ritual as above, 
at an annual feast held when the guinea-corn begins to ripen. 
The priest, " " Dadi of Machupa," intercedes for good crops, 

TRIBES. 201 

for success in hunting, and a numerous progeny. The shrine 
is in a thorn-encircled clump of nettle trees (Celtis integrifolia) . 

Kabeari is worshipped every March (the beginning of the 
tornado season), when the priest, ' Maraiya," officiates. The 
shrine is a silk cotton tree. 

Kayakalua is worshipped in March in a thicket enclosing 
nettle trees inside the walls of the town. ' Mawanni ' is his 

The feast of Makuhum is celebrated annually in March 
by his priest, ' Kagundarri," in a thorn-enclosed grove of 
nettle trees. 

Bashiku is also worshipped in March in a small house in 
Machupa, the feast being celebrated by the priest Gajeri. 

' Kako " and ' Magalla " have festivals in March, cele- 
brated by their respective priests ' Umoru " and ' Kabori." 
On these occasions the intercession of deceased relatives is in- 

' Saipa " has a festival but once in every three years, which 
is held in March, when the priest, " Chegbeddi," officiates. 

' Kamburra " is the only god by whom oaths are sworn. 
On these occasions a white cock and gia are brought to the priest, 
' Mai- Kamburra," who kills and cooks the fowl and gives some 
of the meat and gia to the swearer, who dies in a few days if 
he has spoken a lie. Kamberri gather from all parts of Ngaski 
District to Kamburra's shrine, which is a nettle tree at Kwanga 
in Foke Island. 

In addition to the above gods each compound has its own 
tsafi, and the people unite to celebrate the various feasts of each 
compound. The women are present, but sit apart, and both 
sexes drink to excess. 

The Kamberri believe in an after-life, where the good will 
be rewarded and the wicked punished.* The spirits of the dead 
all go to a place called ' Ukushi," and a woman will rejoin 
her first husband in the spirit world. 

They also believe in demons and witchcraft, and when a 
death occurs sometimes attribute it to supernatural causes. 
The body is then carried by the members of the bereaved family, 
who believe that its feet will guide them to the door of the murderer. 
When this is so, and the dead feet push open the door, the village 
head confiscates the property and enslaves all the members 
of the guilty family, with the exception of one son. Muham- 
madanism is, however, fast penetrating. 

The Kamberri were a powerful tribe until about 1840 A.D., 
when the Yauri, together with a Filane from Gando, conquered 
them. It is doubtful how far they were a cohesive body before 
this time, though the records of Ngaski (or Majinga) mention 

* Compare Dukawa. 


that it was in the reign of the sixteenth Chief that the Filane 
Jihad spread to Kont agora. That Agwarra was the original 
capital, but that a dispute arose as to the sarotaship and that, 
with the aid of the Yauri, one section founded the town of Ngaski, 
and thus these two cities became rival centres. 

Towards the end of the nineteenth century a similar dispute 
broke out in Yauri, which resulted in war between Machupa 
and Ngaski, in which the Kamberri were involved and were thus 
further weakened. When the fighting was nearly at an end, 
Ibrahima, the present Sarkin Sudan, before his succession, joined 
the conflict and captured the Kamberri of Machupa and neigh- 
bourhood, selling them into slavery and thus depopulating 
the country. 

The Kamberri are a prolific race, of fine physique the 
men averaging some five feet nine inches in height, the women 
five feet seven inches. 

The men wear a skin or loin-cloth, except at dances when 
grown men wear gowns and burnouses, and youths red cloth 
over one shoulder and sword-cords over each shoulder, in addition 
to small red loin-cloths. The women likewise wear loin-cloths, 
though those in Arigidda wear nothing but a bunch of leaves. 
Blue beads, or guinea-corn stalks dyed red, are worn through 
the ears and nostrils, and a small white stone through the lower 
lip. Both sexes put Kolle in their eyes and shave their heads, 
though the latter fashion is dying out. 

All events have dances connected with them, when the 
women sing, in praise of the fair, warriors, hunters, or dancers 
as is appropriate. Special instruments accompany each of 
these for instance a drum called tulu is beaten at the 
' Ugunu " dance, which takes place two weeks before the 
heavy farm work commences usually in May. 

A long horn is blown at the " Malungo " dance, which is 
held after work on the gero farms is finished and before that 
on the yams begins. 

There is a youths' dance, " Masanga," or hoe dance, when 
two different kinds of drum, the " kalango " and " gunga ' 
are beaten and an instrument called '" rawan garma." The 
young men wear a cap with ostrich feathers, and many iron 

Another dance, the " Wasambiri," to the accompaniment 
of the drum (kalango), is a sort of rag-time, and the ' Lekko " 
is a wedding dance where the bride is carried about by young 
men in jingling leg-lets, to the beat of the drum (tubu). 

Another musical instrument is a whistle made out of guinea- 
corn stalk. 

At these dances, as indeed at all times, a great deal 
of gia is drunk. The rich people also drink " bezo," a compound 

TRIBES. 203 

of rice and honey, and ' bami " made from the fermented 
juice of the oil, fan .and ' tukurua " palms. 

The Kamberri are diligent farmers, the principal crops raised 
being guinea-corn, millet, maize, tubers, gwaza, some cassava 
and rice, all of which belong to the men; the women grow beans 
and yakua. Tobacco is raised, which is both smoked and inhaled. 

They use well-carved stools and mud bedsteads, beneath 
which fires are lighted. The tribe practise no craft; they have, 
however, newly acquired the art of weaving, but not of dyeing. 
They have considerable knowledge of medicine, probably gained 
from their Gungawa and Borgawa neighbours. Cupping is 

They play a game called " Kabula," which resembles hockey, 
though there is no off-side. The fruit of the dum palm is used 
as a ball. 

They were hunters and warriors. When accoutred for war 
the elders wore padded shirts, but the young men had no pro- 
tection. The weapons consisted of knives, two kinds of battle- 
axes, and bows and arrows. A stiff grass was used for the shafts 
of the arrows, which were tippe.d with wrought iron and poisoned 
with strophanthus, or with a solution of bark from the uduri 
tree which is poured on to tuo that has already gone bad. 

If a child was born with teeth, water was poured into its 
mouth until it died. Ordinarily the mother, after the birth 
of an infant, is given tuo to eat, soup made with the leaves 
of the doka tree (Berlina acuminata) , cinders, meat and fish, 
but no salt. On the fourth day the baby is shown to its relations, 
and its grandfather on the male side names it if its birth co- 
incides with the feast of a god it is frequently called after him, 
or if a girl after a market-place if she has been born at the time 
a market was being held. After the naming the grandmother, 
on the male side, shows the infant boy a miniature bow and 
three arrows, praying that he may grow up to be a good hunter. 
These, together with the sweepings from the birth-room, are 
then carried to the cross- roads, and a feast is given to all the 

There is no circumcision. 

When a youth falls in love he gets his' father to call on the 
girl's parents, which he does in the early morning. If the match 
is agreed to the engagement is announced, and the suitor comes 
with his young friends to drink a pot of beer made by the girl's 
mother, each one leaving some money at the bottom. This 
rite is repeated every fortnight, 6d. or is. being given each time. 
They also work on the prospective father-in-law's farms, if 
only for one day in the year, throughout the time of the engage- 
ment, which ordinarily lasts for from five to seven years. Each 
young man in his turn receives the assistance of his fellows in 
his courtship. If the match is broken off the money must be 


returned. The girl may express her wish to break it off but she 
has no right to do so ; on the other hand if after marriage she 
leaves her husband she is not held to be disgraced, and he has 
no claim on the dower. 

When the wedding day comes the bride's parents provide 
the household goods, the pots and pans, etc., and her trousseau, 
which as has been seen mainly consists of ornaments. The 
pair then live together for four days, during which time they 
may eat and drink nothing but beer and sweetmeats (the usual 
diet includes frogs, snakes, dogs, etc.) On the fourth day a 
feast is given, and the bride, arrayed in all her finery, red being 
the preponderating colour, is carried round the market-place 
on the shoulders of her girl friends. The groom and his friends, 
dressed in gowns and burnouses, meet there, and they all drink, 
dance and merry-make all day. The bride is usually fourteen 
or fifteen years old when the wedding takes place. 

A widow passes to her husband's brothers according to 
their seniority, but if they do not choose to marry her she may 
return to her own people and marry whom she pleases. Her 
own property, i.e., crops, passes on her death to her husband. 
A man's property goes to his sons, to his father, brothers, uncles 
on the male side, half-brothers, or intimate friends each class 
totally debarring that beneath it. 

If the sons are children their father's eldest brother acts 
as trustee and guardian. 

Bodies are buried in the houses, with the head to the south 
and the feet to the north the grave is built over with sticks 
from the bark cloth tree, to which is added ' bunu " the 
ground is then " debbe." A stone is let in and beer is poured 
on the grave both on the day of burial and forty days 
afterwards. The huts continue in use. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 

The Kamu are an off-shoot of the Jukon of Pindika, who left 
the Gwona (Gateri) neighbourhood and defeated the inhabitants 
of Kamu, a town in the south-east of the Gombe Division of 
Bauchi Province, adopting their language, which is distinct from 
that of any other in the neighbourhood. They continued to 
pay tribute to Pindika until the Filane overthrew the Jukon, 
when the Kamu became independent. 

Their tribal marks are identical with those of the Tera,* 
i.e., one deep line from the centre of the forehead to the tip 

* They are also worn by the Awok women. 

TRIBES. 205 

of the nose, three horizontal lines on the cheek, two diagonal 
lines from the corner of the nose, and a quantity of lines from 
the top of the head to the jaw-bone. 

If three or four children of one mother die she will not allow 
her next born to be marked, but, if it survives, the marking custom 
is renewed on its successors. 

There is a tribe of the name of " Kam," in the Lau Division 
of Muri Province, who are also descended from the Jukon, 
but probably the similarity of name is a coincidence see Chamba, 
page 80. 



Mr. J. F. Fitzpatrick. Major W. Hamilton-Browne. 
Mr. C. K. Meek. Mr. G. L. Monk. 

Mr. S. E. M. Stobart. 

The Kamuku inhabit the western district of Kwongoma 
in the Niger Province and the adjoining country of Kotonkoro, 
an eastern district of Kontagora, where they number some 3,500. 
In the former division there is a group of over 6,000 in the Makan- 
gara Independent District, and others under the independent 
Chief of Kusheriki. There is a further group at Tegina, and 
another in the two western sub-districts of Birnin Gwari, num- 
bering in all some 25,000 people. Kamkawa are notified from 
Wushishi Emirate. 

There is no tribal tradition as to their origin, but the inhabi- 
tants of Kuki claim to have come from Zaria town, in times 
prior to the Jihad, on account of a dispute as to succession. 
The people of Kankangi, Tereboggo, Kunungaya, Kabango 
and Kurishi on the other hand claim to have come from Kotoro- 
koshi (Sokoto), and the natives of Kurigi from Kebbi, having 
been driven south by the wars of Dan Mari in the time of Gobir 

It is suggested that they came originally from the neighbour- 
hood of Katsina, and it seems probable that they are one of the 
original ' Haussa tribes." The Kamuku are on friendly 
terms with the Maguzawa and with the men of Zaria. The 
Kamuku of Kwongoma bear the Katsinawa tribal marks, 
i.e., six to nine cuts on the cheek, reaching from ear to 
chin.* In Kotonkoro, however, the number has been reduced 
from four to six by some, while others have the same 
marks as the Bassa, i.e., two short cuts on each temple 

* Compare Gwari, p. 122. 


and two long cuts reaching from the temples to the corners 
the mouth. The Makangara have no tribal marks. 

The later history of the Kamukus is clear enough. Those 
of Makangara have always preserved a sturdy independence, 
but the majority of the eastern Kamukus shared the fortunes 
first (to some extent) of Kusheriki, and later of Birnin Gwari. 
Prior to this they came, no doubt, under the sway of Kwiambana. 
The south-eastern towns of Kuki, Dawaikin Bassa, and Kunun- 
gaya followed Kusheriki until they were wrested from Kusheriki 
by Ali of Birnin Gwari, in whose kingdom were already included 
(since the days of Gwarin Waiki, 1800 A.D.) the majority of 
the eastern Kamukus. In Ali's time (1838-1882) there was a 
general revolt of the Kamukus from Birnin Gwari. With the 
assistance of Kotonkoro, Kwiambana, and Zanfara, they were 
able to resist the Sarkin Gwari for five or six years, but were 
finally overcome by Same, Madawaikin Gwari, in the vicinity 
of Bugai. 

A new danger now threatened (1864), which was destined 
to unite Kamukus and Gwaris. Nagwamachi had settled at 
Kontagora and begun his annual slave raids into Kamuku country. 
The process of devastation was continued by Ibrahim, the present 
Emir of Kontagora. The Makangara and the men of Kuki 
alone offered a successful resistance, but the rest of the Kamuku 
tribe was decimated. After the sacking of Birnin Gwari by 
Sarikin Sudan in 1895 the Kamuku carried their tribute annually 
to Kontagora until Ibrahim himself came under the control 
of the British. 

The Kamuku show affinity to the Kamberri and Dukawa, 
who probably originated from the same country. 

There are two closely connected groups, the Kamuku, Ura 
and Ngwoi, and the Baushi, Bassa, and Pongo. The Kamuku 
and Baushi are probably the original languages of the two groups, 
which have little connection with each other but that their 
numerals are in common. Within the groups, though this may date 
from the Katsina supremacy over Birnin Gwari, they can make 
themselves understood by each other. The customs and beliefs 
of the Ura and Ngwoi are identical with those of the Kamuku 
tribe, and will not, therefore, be treated apart. Both are situated 
in the Kwongoma Division, to which district the Ura claim 
to be indigenous and to have been there long prior to the Kamuku. 
The Ngwoi, in the Kagora neighbourhood, came south from 
Zaria Province. The Haussa language is commonly known. 

In appearance the Kamuku have light skins, long narrow 
eyes and high cheek-bones. They keep their heads shaved 
except for a ridge of hair down the centre of the scalp. They 
are not a clean people, and go some five days without washing. 

The men commonly wear a leather loin-cloth, or tasselled 
leather apron and a goat-skin hung from the shoulder, or a 

TRIBES. 207 

cloth wrapped round the body and thrown over one shoulder. 
They have straw hats with large crowns that fit the head, and 
they carry a tasselled leather pouch over the left shoulder. 
The old men have long light staves, those of the sarakuna being 
forked at the top. The Muhammadan gown is gradually re- 
placing the native dress. Women wear a single cloth round the 
chest and under the arms, while girls wear the same beneath the 
breast, and small children go naked. 

They live in closely built compounds of round huts, and 
have regular meeting places where the men smoke and chat 
in the evenings. They are agriculturists in a small way. They 
thresh their grain before storing it, but much of it is used for 
beer, especially in the southern districts, where they are also 
inveterate smokers. 

The Makangara Kamuku live in the north-west of the Niger 
Province on the Kontagora boundary. It is a mountainous 
district and the towns are perched on almost inaccessible hills, 
which are surrounded with two, and sometimes three, stone walls, 
for purposes .of defence. All the hill-side is terraced and 
utilised, for the Makangara are industrious farmers, but the 
principal crops are raised in the plain lands, where, however, 
there are no villages. These plain lands were (until recently 
when they were included in the Niger Province) under Konta- 
gora, and the Makangara farmer used to pay gaisua for the 
land he farmed to Kontagora though maintaining complete 
independence. A river separates the hill and plain lands, and 
the Makangara threw stone causeways across the stream to 
overcome the difficulty of transit. These causeways are from 
four to ten feet wide and some are V-shaped, with the apex 
pointing down stream, while one or two upright pillars mark 
their position at high water. These have existed since the middle 
of the nineteenth century. 

This area of seventy square miles is inhabited by a population 
of 6,246, men preponderating over women. A possible explana- 
tion is to be found in the fact that the women carry heavy 
loads up the precipitous rocks and that they suffer many accidents. 

Two theories are advanced as to the meaning of Makangara, 

one that it was a nickname signifying, as it does in Haussa, 

' undefeated," the other that it is a Kamuku expression for 

' people who never leave towns." Whichever is correct, the 

various clans who are known as Makangara are, for the most 

part, of Kamuku stock, but they speak of themselves by the 

name of their clan or village. 

It seems probable that the oldest settlers were Achipawa, 
members of which tribe still inhabit the vicinity of Sakaba in 
Kontagora Province, though the people know of no connection 
with each other. 


In the central Makangara hills also Achipanchi is spol 
and Achipanchi customs observed, though it is probable that 
these early comers were followed by an influx of Kamuku. The 
Kamuku language is, as remarked above, universally known. 

The people inhabiting the Western hills claim to be indigenous 
and belong to the Ureggi, Sangamuku and Oroggo clans, together 
with one Unchinda village. Unlike most other natives it is 
their custom to shake hands on meeting.* The Tochippo (Achi- 
pawa) came from Kontagora, and the rest of the Unchinda 
clan from the direction of Zaria. The Unchinda do not generally 
intermarry with other sections and their customs differ somewhat. 

The sections and clans in the Makangara District are as follows : 
(i) Ugwama section, embracing Sangamuku and Unchinda 
clans ; (2) Ureggi section, embracing Oroggo and Ureggi clans ; 
(3) Kashira section, embracing Tochippo (Achipansa) and 
Unchinda clans ; (4) Tunguna section containing Unchinda 

As is the case with all Kamuku, each section, clan and village 
has its head-man, who is supported by a council of elders without 
whom he is powerless, the most important position being held 
by the chief priests of the two principal religious cults. Rank 
is practically confined to priests and to those who have dis- 
tinguished themselves in war. The councils, however, are 
rarely concerned in any legal case , for crimes and torts are generally 
settled between the kin groups of the individuals concerned, 
the kin group of the offender being responsible for his appearance. 
Should they fail to come to an agreement trial by ordeal is resorted 
to. The case is laid before the Ugwam Meunni (Sarkin Gwaska), 
the official who regulates trial 'by ordeal, who receives a fee 
of a he-goat and a white cock, and if the accused persists that 
he is innocent they all repair to the Meunni house, where the 
Ugwam sacrifices the cock. The challenger places his foot upon 
it and invokes death upon himself if he has brought a lying 
charge. The respondent swears his innocence and drinks a 
poisoned draught, after which he runs about till he vomits, 
or is dead within the hour. Whichever wins the test receives 
all the belongings of the vanquished party, whose wives and 
children are sold into slavery almost always to non-Kamuku. 
The only other case for which a Kamuku may be enslaved is 
for debt. In the Birnin Gwari Districts this form of ordeal has 
been abandoned for another. The accused has to cross ashes at the 
threshold of the complainant's dandaki, i.e., Mai-girro shrine. 
Were he to have a lie on his conscience, sickness would result. 
Ordeal is also practised for cases of witchcraft. A witch is 
almost invariably of the female sex, and, if she survives the 
test, is always driven from the village. 

* A coast habit. 

TRIBES. 209 

In Tegina and Koriga there is no system of ordeal. 

One of the principal duties of the Council is to decide 
on the day for locust-bean picking this is settled at a meeting 
of section head-men, who inform the village head-men, who 
tell their communities. Should anyone pick the beans before 
this general permission is granted he is fined sixteen sheep, 
which are killed and eaten on the spot by the village Sarkuna. 

The Makangara are orthodox Kamuku in their beliefs, and 
practise the " Aseun " and ' Mahoga " cults. The Chief 
priest of " Aseun " is the most important, he is called " Gulabe " 
or " Sarkin Maigiron Aseun," and celebrates annually a 
great religious feast, which lasts from three to seven days. He 
represents a spirit in search of food, and the ceremonies consist 
of feasting and drinking gia (native beer) , which must be brewed 
by the men of the village on the previous day. Dancing, piping, 
and singing accompany the celebration, but drums may not 
be sounded. The " Gulabe " passes from village to village 
and should a stranger or a woman meet him, a fine of sheep 
or goats and a dog is imposed. These are killed and the flesh 
mixed, cooked, and eaten at the Maigiro house by all the f casters. 
Nothing must be left, or taken away. Before returning home, 
each man must go to the bathing place and wash. An oath 
taken on the Gulabe is regarded with great awe and is now 
adopted in the Native Courts. It always includes the swallowing 
of ashes. In Koriga oath is made on the spirit Maigiro. It 
is administered in the temple when a fowl is sacrificed. 

A somewhat similar festival is held annually by the chief 
priest of the Mahoga cult, who is known as the " Gwaja " or 
' Ugwam Mahog." Drums may be used at the Mahoga feast. 
The Kamuku of Kotonkoro worship a minor spirit, ' Ilga,"* 
to whom they pray for children, for health, and for success, 
in hunting. His festival takes place when the guinea-corn is 
three feet high, when the Chief Priest, accompanied by the 
elders, makes sacrifice to him. On their return to the town, 
feasting and drinking take place for two days, throughout 
which time no one may leave the place. 

In the Birnin Gwari Districts, besides Aseun and Maidawa, 
' Karuma," the god of youth, courage and strength, is worshipped 
by young men. They are his votaries and at the end of each 
dry season they assemble beneath a big tree in the bush at the 
base of which they pour gia and then run home, without looking 
behind them under penalty of losing good fortune. They appoint 
a leader in deeds of daring who is known as Sarkin Karuma. 

There are lesser priests, who bear this same title of Ugwam 
Mahog, who set spells, though the use of these is gradually 
dying out. An applicant brings the Ugwam Mahog a fee of a 

* Compare Dukawa. 


he-goat, cock, and a small hoe. The animal is sacrificed at 
night, and eaten by the priest, his friends, and the invoker, and 
a recognised ritual is gone through. The applicant then returns 
home, but takes care to pass the house of his enemy, which he 
either points out to the spirits, or from the thatched roof of 
which he draws a straw. He may not stop, speak, or look to 
right or left till he is in his own home once more. If his enmity 
is just misfortune attends his foe, but if not the evil recoils 
upon himself. If the victim can persuade the offended party to 
take him to the Ugwam Mahog, when a ceremony is gone through, 
the curse may be removed, but a large present has to be given 
first. These Bori include many superstitions, one of which 
is practised by the women and results in a state of hypnotism 
induced by drinking a certain medicine, and is helpful in disease. 
It is attributed to the good offices of a number of spirits. 

Another is the power of rain-making, which is attributed 
to the town of Mazuba (Makangara.) 

To foretell the future, peas are shaken up in a tortoise-shell 
and then gathered into the right or left hand. They are counted 
out and according as to whether an odd or even number remains 
in the hand a mark is made in the ground. This process is repeated 
eight times and a meaning come to according to the combination. 
This appears a somewhat similar system to the ordinary sand 
divination practised by the Mallams of Birnin Gwari. 

Besides Aseun and Mahoga each individual has his own cult. 
Each man has a small sacred hut outside, each woman a hut 
inside, the compound. Horns and skulls of animals, a miniature 
bow, arrow and axe made entirely of iron, a pot and a calabash 
are his emblems. The tutelary spirits worshipped here are 
known as Maidawa, and rheumatism, paralysis, and some forms 
of madness are attributed to neglect of these. They punish 
neglect, but otherwise bring good fortune. They are the spirits 
of the dance. The blood of a cock, and dawa, are commonly 
offered, together with a prayer which runs as follows: ' In 
the name of our brethren that lie buried in the ground, by their 
loving kindness, grant unto us health and prosperity. And 
so do we bring you water to quench your thirst. May our wives 
bring us children and may we go forth to farm. Grant us corn 
in abundance through the graciousness of the Maigiro, may 
they vouchsafe unto us happiness and may they drive far away 
any mischief-making spirits, and bring only to our town those 
that are well disposed." In Tegina alone there is no private 
" Maidawa " cult. 

Certain families in Koriga possess these personal hereditary 
cults, which are distinct for males and for females, and that pass 
only from eldest son to eldest son, and from eldest daughter 
to eldest daughter. There is a special ' Maidawa " with its 
own shrine for twins. 

TRIBES. 211 

It seems probable that there is some sort of ancestor worship, 
for, on rare occasions and in reference to some particular trouble 
or object, a sacrificial feast of a goat and a cock is held by the 
sons to their dead father's spirit. This course usually follows 
on the advice of the Ugwam Mahog, or on a warning dream 
to some member of the household, a woman being the usual 

In certain villages crocodiles are tabu, in other places certain 
individuals may not kill or eat leopards, others may not kill or 
eat python a food which is much appreciated by others of 
the clan. Certain forms of lunacy are ascribed to having killed 
the animal in which the sufferer's Maidawa was incarnated. 
These "are always associated with the spirits of the dead. Night- 
jar are tabu to all the inhabitants of Kushenki town, python 
to all blacksmiths in that neighbourhood, leopard, bushcow, 
etc., to other hamlets or ungwas. Certain inanimate objects 
are regarded as sacred in different localities, though they vary 
greatly; it is usually some tree or rock, and here sacrifices are 
made. Both leopard and python are tabu in Koriga. The 
sacred leopard of the town lives on a rocky hill behind the Sarki's 

The Unchinda clan have a special cult in connection with 
a hill named Dutsin Mainono, the upper half of which is shaped 
like a woman. Men make annual sacrifice there at the beginning 
of the rains. There is a legend that the women used to leave 
their babies at the foot of the hill, while they fetched wood 
and water, for they would always find them quiet and happy 
on their return. One day a mother came back earlier than usual 
and saw a crone playing with the children, but she herself was 
seen and the old dame picked up her child and dashed it on the 
rocks and killed it. If ever a child was left there after that date, 
the same fate befel it. 

In war the Kamuku fight mainly on the defensive. Their 
aim is always to occupy the hill-tops and slopes of narrow valleys 
where they lie in ambush. 

Their weapons are bows and arrows, long-headed, narrow- 
faced axes, and knives. 

For hunting and fishing they use light single-barbed spears. 
Each man hunts by himself, except for the cane-rat (Kusun 
Keauro, or gebuji), Then they surround a fadama and fire 
the grass, killing the game with spears or arrows. 

The riverain Makangara practise three methods of fishing : 

(1) They drain shallow pools and catch the fish by hand. 

(2) They block ordinary pools and shoot the fish with arrows, 
spear them, or catch them in hand bag-nets. 

(3) They poison deep pools, either with cactus (Kiaranna), 
makuba, maigimfa (a giant purple vetch), or karia (Adinia 
Bignonia specie) . Basket traps are often built into the dams . 


Other occupations practised are rough tanning, rope making, 
basket and hat making, the smithying of arrowheads and thumb- 
rings for bowmen, weaving, and the manufacture of pottery. 
Till recently this was the only export and it is well done big 
water-pots and burial pots, and bowls for the long Kamuku 
pipes are the specialities, and the township of Taberma is par- 
ticularly famed for its pipe-bowls. 

Amongst the Makangara marriage is by exchange, or, as 
is now more usual, the suitor gives a bull and a cow to the parents 
of the bride, and corn and cowries which are divided amongst 
her family. The cowries are a recent innovation, for live-stock 
used to be the only currency, and the dwarf hump-less short-horn 
type of cattle which are owned by the Makangara are used 
mainly as bride-price. They are not milked, nor are they killed 
for meat. When the bride is to go to her suitor's house he kills 
and cooks a goat whole to make a feast for her relatives, and 
it must be consumed ere they separate. 

A man may repudiate marriage, and if so the bull and cow 
are returned to him. Amongst the Kirembwa group a woman 
also may repudiate marriage, but another bull, cow, and a 
number of sheep and goats have to be paid to the man, and 
until this debt is paid off the woman may not marry again. 
Wife-lending is practised, and a childless woman is frequently 
lent to her husband's brother or son. It is a recognised custom 
for a man to present the husband with a chicken, for sacrifice, 
and to ask the loan of his wife if he is of a certain status the 
request may not be refused. 

Amongst the Ngwoi and in Ushama (Tochippo clan) marriag 
is also by exchange. There all the sons belong to the father, 
all the girls to the mother, but the father has a right to redeem 
his daughter in order to effect a marriage for himself. 

In the Birnin Gwari Districts the suitor pleads his cau 
for three days with his prospective father-in-law and, if successful, 
he brings a present of guinea-corn and works on his father-in-law's 
farm, when required, for some ten years. When the girl reaches 
marriageable age her suitor brings a cow, bull, or sheep, and goat, 
chickens and much guinea-corn. The girl has, however, the 
right of refusal, in which case all his gifts are returned. No 
divorce is permitted, but, if a couple are^ unhappy together 
the husband may give his wife to his younger brother. 

In Kotonkoro the custom is somewhat different. When 
boy reaches wrestling age his father gives presents to the parents 
of the selected bride, and if these are accepted the relations 
are summoned and the presents divided between them. The 
groom helps his father-in-law on his farm for seven years, during 
which time he has his own hut in his father-in-law's compound, 
with access to his bride. They remain with her people until 
her first child can crawl. She then goes to her husband's house, 

TRIBES. 213 

which is made the occasion of a great feast to his people. In 
the case of unfaithfulness before marriage the lover pays a fine. 
Divorce can be procured, when all presents must be refunded. 

In Kwongoma the suitor works on his prospective father-in- 
law's farm, and when his six to eight-year-old fiancee reaches 
marriageable age he gives a further present, of which firewood 
usually forms a principal part. In Kusheriki it is usually three 
cattle and three goats. 

Divorce by repudiation is practised. 

In Birnin Gwari, when the birth of a child is imminent, 
the father goes out hunting and returns with an antelope or 
buffalo, the hide of which is cleaned from its hair and boiled 
to a jelly, which, three days after the birth, is eaten by the 
assembled guests. 

The child is suckled for three years, during which time the 
mother lives apart from her husband. 

In Kotonkoro if a child was born with teeth, water was poured 
into its mouth till it died. 

Circumcision is recognised and a ceremony, called ' Bugi- 
amma," is held in connection with it, but at very irregular 
intervals, for there was once a lapse of eighty years in its celebration. 
The operation is now generally performed seven days after birth. 

The Makangara have similar burial customs to the other 
Kamuku. The body is placed in a sitting position inside a large 
earthenware pot, which is covered by a smaller pot, inverted, 
in the bowl of which a hole is pierced. These are sunk into 
the ground on the tops, or on the slopes, of hills. This custom 
is gradually giving place to diagonal burial. In some townships 
a cock is killed and its blood sprinkled on the body, its flesh 
being eaten afterwards by the mourners, at the bathing-place. 

Amongst the Makangara an adult son inherits from his 
father, receiving the wives (whom he marries) as well as the 
goods. If he is a minor his father's brother becomes his guardian 
and inherits in his stead, but on his uncle's death the property 
passes to him. In certain cases the man whom his mother marries 
acts as would an uncle, but he is always a relative of the dead 
man. Where there are no sons a man's brother succeeds. 
Amongst the Kamuku generally it is the practice for a man's 
brother to succeed failing brothers, sons. In Kotonkoro it all 
goes to the family-head, who divides the private property between 
the children, male and female. If there are no male relatives 
the real estate lapses to the village head. Should the inheritor 
be very young the widows may live with whom they please, 
but, though they exercise this right, their offspring belongs 
to the heir all the same. 

The Makangara and Kamuku of Kwongoma practise blood- 
brothership between whole villages, a tie which is inviolable 
and is binding on succeeding generations. It is not confined 


to the Kamuku alone, but they enter into it with the kindred 
tribes of Bassa, Baushi, Ngwoi and Ura. The entire male popu- 
lation of the villages concerned meet together, each bringing 
a sheep and goat which are killed and cut up ; blood is then taken 
from the forearm of a boy of each township and smeared upon 
every piece of meat, which is then rubbed in ashes and given 
to and eaten by the men of the other village. * It is followed by 
a feast and drinking bout, which is repeated the following year 
at the other village. 

The Kamuku of Koriga do not practise blood-brotherhood, 
but they went through some ceremony of shaving with the 
people of Kwongoma which effected identical relations. 


Major F. Edgar. Mr. G. W. Webster, 

' Kanakuru " is said to be nothing more than a nickname 
given by the Haussa to the tribes of Dera and Jera, and was 
derived from their ordinary salutation, ' Kanaku " peace 
to you. They did, however, at one time reside at a place called 
Kanaku in the Shari District of what is now Gombe Emirate. 
It has been so generally adopted that the customs of the tribes 
may fitly be described under their joint heading. 

Their origin is uncertain, but it is probable that they came 
from North Gombe, and they claim to have been the original 
possessors of what is now Gombe Emirate, and to be connected 
with the ' Jeia " (Jere or Jarawa ?), of Bauchi Province. 

Their language is connected with that of the Tera* and Waja, 
and shows a certain kinship to Haussa. 

The Dera Chief, Mijibauna, enjoys the rank of Arnado Shellen, 
with jurisdiction, as district-head, over the Jera, Longuda, 
and Yungur tribes. 

Their present location is on the banks of the Gongola and 
Hawal Rivers, with headquarters at Shillem to the west of 
Yola Province. 

The land is very fertile and produces a good yield of shea-nuts, 
gum, and gutta. Farm lands are apportioned amongst the 
people by the village Chiefs. It is also good for pasturage and 
the Kitijen Filane graze large herds there, their position being 
virtually that of serfs to the Kanakuru. 

Horses are bred and are ridden bare-backed. In times of 
war their riders carry spears, and don riding-boots that have 

* The Tera were their neighbours at Kanaku. 

TRIBES. 215 

an extension above the knee to act as shield to the upper part 
of the leg. Horsemen and footmen alike protect their bodies 
with wrappings of cloth, and the latter carry leather shields. 
Swords and bows and arrows are used as well as spears. 

In times of peace the men wear a short gown, or leather 
apron, reaching to the knee. The women wear a bunch of leaves, 
or a loin-cloth which may be discarded altogether. 

They live in tiny huts which are grouped in rows inside the 

Each wife has her own farm and grain store. 

Girls are betrothed as children. A suitor gives his promised 
bride a roll of cloth and a loin-cloth, which she wears once; and, 
in the course of the engagement, twenty more cloths. When 
the marriage-day comes he gives the priest at Shellen the beard 
of a bull. He then throws two cloths into his bride's house and 
brings her away, giving her one more loin-cloth. 

The Chief may have five hundred wives, and many men 
have thirty or forty. 

They are a very moral race, despite the fact that they are 
habitually drunk by 10 a.m., and very polite. Should one man 
fail to salute another he is fined the equivalent value of io/- 

Great wakes are celebrated, when dancing is carried on 
for a week or ten days. 

The principal deity of the Jera is " Buma," their first Chief, 
who mysteriously vanished into space from a couch in the council 
room. The Dera worship their ancestor Yangu, who, it is sug- 
gested, may likewise have been ancestor to the Yungur tribe. 
' Kurah," the chief priest, resides at Shellen. 

It is possible that the Gaanda tribe (Lala group) are an 
off-shoot of the Jera. 

KANEMBU and their off-shoots the JETKOS, IYIAGUMI, TUBU 

and IY10BBER. 

AUTHORITY : Mr. P. A. Benton. 

It is probable that the Kanembu were established in the 
country of Kanem before the advent of the Kanuri in the 
thirteenth century, and though of Hamitic origin were, therefore, 
a different migration. In M. Tilho's book in a passage on the 
Tubu, he describes how Tuba Lauel came from Hindustani 
by Syria, Baghdad, Egypt, and Medina, to Mecca, together 
with four thousand priests, and how he received tribute every- 
where until he came to Mecca, to which he consequently laid 
siege. He subsequently repented hence his name " Tub " 
repent and retired to Yemen. Forty years later Muhamad 
declared himself, and Tuba Lauel became his devout disciple. 


One of his descendants went to the north and ultimately 
Stamboul, another east to Kan em, where he made himself an 
enormous kingdom. They fought with the Tuaregs and with 
the So, by whom they were at first defeated, but ultimately 
received their permission to settle peaceably amongst them. 
They have not, however, spread westwards from the vicinage 
of Lake Chad. They came into frequent collision with 
the Wadaians, by whom they were gradually driven westwards, 
and about a hundred years ago some of them were driven to 
seek shelter on the islands of Lake Chad with the Buduma, an 
offshoot of the Kanembu family, who had broken off from the 
main body between the tenth and sixteenth centuries. These 
Kanembu paid a tax of corn to each Guria Buduma householder 
in exchange for their land. 

Early in the nineteeenth century the Kanembu were brought 
by Sheikh Laminu into Bornu proper, and from that time have 
intermarried with the Kanuri, till they are now considered 
to be of a common stock, and are reckoned as Kanuri for census 

They maintain a brisk trade with the Buduma for natron. 
They breed stock, fish, weave, dye and make pottery and grass 
pots, etc. 

The men wear ragged robes and caps, the women cloths. 
The former shave and the latter wear their hair in a fringe of 
tight plaits round the head. 

The ordinary weapons are spears, bows and arrows, and 
daggers, and occasionally swords are also used. 

They are of the Muhammadan religion. 

Succession is to the children, who divide the property equally 
after the eldest son has first subtracted a tenth part of its value. 

The consent of a girl has to be obtained before marriage is 
consummated; the dower is from three goats or sheep upwards, 
according to the wealth of the contracting parties. 

The Kanembu .intermarry with the Kanuri, but not with 
the Manga, who are still older inhabitants of the country. The 
two principal clans are Sugurti and Kubei. The Shehu is a 
member of the latter family. 

1. The Buduma are descended from the Kanembu. Other 
off-shoots are the 

2. Jetkos, a Muhammadan people in the Geidam Division 
of the Shehurite. They were Kanembu herdsmen who migrated 
from the country east of Lake Chad. 

3. The Tubu, who are also of the Muslim religion, who have 
settled in the Shehurite in the Geidam Division. 

4. The Magumi, who came from Yemen with the descendant 
of Tuba Lauel, to whom they were subject. 

5. The Mobber, who were probably serfs of the Tubu, whom 
they followed from Yemen to Komadugu, where they remained, 

TRIBES. 217 


Bosso being their headquarters. Nachtigal writes that they 
were of mixed Kanembu-Sos, or Kanembu-Bedde stock. 

They now inhabit the banks of the Yo River and recognise 
the Shehu of Bornu. They are a Muhammadan people and 
number some 5,000. They fish, breed stock, and make ropes. 

Their arms are spears, bows and arrows. 


Kanna are notified from Gombe Emirate in Bauchi Province, 
and from the Lau District of Muri Province. 


AUTHORITY : Major F. Edgar. 

Kantana is situated in the Kanam District. It is closely 
connected with superstitions, the site having been granted 
by a mythical personage named Kundom, who came out of 
a hole in the rocks, went to the top of the cliff and lit a fire. 
Seeing the fire people came about him and found that he spoke 
Jaranchi and had a tail. They besought and obtained his permission 
to cut it off. His descendants became the Chiefs of Kundom 
(a cave) , and the inhabitants swear by him up to the present 
time. It is said that long ago four lads entered the cave and 
found two old men therein smoking tobacco. These old men 
chased them out and demanded gifts that the boys might con- 
tinue to live happily. Two gave them their elder brothers and 
two refused to give them anything. All four fell ill of small-pox, 
and the two who had refused gifts died, as well as the two elder 
brothers who had been mentioned. From that time the mouth 
of the cave has been covered with a zana mat, and no native 
will enter. 

A kind of pepper was said to grow at the foot of the cliff, 
and if any man tasted it his mouth was eaten away, but the 
plant died out circ. 1895 a.d. 

There is said to be a second entrance to this cave at Kantana. 

The Kantana clan wear similar tribal markings to the Jarawa. 


Mr. P. A. Benton. Mr. H. Vischer. 

In the opinion of Nachtigal the Kanuri are a mixed race 
of Arab, Hamitic, Kanembu, Tubu, and indigenous negro tribes, 


It was the opinion of Barth that the Kanuri were a distinct 

A Kamberi Beri-beri of Sokoto* says : 
' Sarki Ifrikasu first brought the Beri-beri people from the 
land of Shem into the west. He built the city of Ifrikiyata. 
Shamriru was one of the principal rulers. He was also known 
as Samarkand. Sarki Tubau Lawal was also. one of their principal 
rulers. H^ conquered the whole country. 

' Sarki Tubau Ansadi was also one of their principal rulers. 
His name properly was Asadu, and he was also known as 
Abakariba. His was the greatest kingdom of them all. He 
first decorated the Kaaba at Mecca with woven hangings. It 
was in his reign that the people known as Kamberi Beri-beri 

To quote from native information collected by the late Boyd 
Alexander, j- ' the Kanuri are supposed to have come from 
Yemen to Fezzan and then penetrated into the Sahara by way 
of Shirhit. 

" In the thirteenth century they founded the capital of their 
Empire at Birni, the ruins of which are still extant, on the right 
bank of the Yo River, and a two days' march to the east of 
Geidam. When considering the distribution of the races in 
Bornu at the present day, there seems to be no doubt that the 
Birni dynasty spread over the western and southern portions 
of Bornu, and to within five days of Kano, subjugating and 
intermarrying with the following tribes ; Ghamerhgu, Mandara, 
Kotoko, Marragi, Baliwa and Manga. All these tribes paid 
tribute to the Kanuri. It is quite probable that the Manga were 
the forerunners of the Kanuri race, and settled in the country 
before those who founded Birni. 

" Then in the country lying near the western shores of Lake 
Chad we find several local races of a different element, who, 
to my mind, mark the extreme western distribution of the 
Kanembu race, with Kanem as the proper centre. They are 
the Tubu (Yo River), Mobber (south bank Yo), Kurio, and 
Kwoyam. According to native information which I have obtained 
from true descendants of the Birni people, the above races were 
in the land before the founding of the Birni capital, and there-' 
fore are a separate element from the Kanuri. Besides, the 
method of hair-dressing with the women of these races is entirely 
different from that of the Kanuri, and consists in the hair being 
trained in a long curtain-like fringe all round the head, identical 
with the Kanembu method. Also we find that these races speak 
Kanuri imperfectly. 

* Collected by Mr. E. J. Arnett. 

f " Boyd Alexander's Last Journey." 

TRIBES. 219 

" When the Fulani raid under Usman from the west attacked 
Birni in the reign of the Kanuri King, Maiarri, the ancient capital 
of the Kanuri, was sacked and destroyed with great bloodshed, 
and the remnant of the inhabitants fled to Gashagar, where, 
according to report, they stayed for seven days, afterwards 
going south to Mongonnu, in the neighbourhood of which town 
they made a settlement. At the same time the Kanembu Mallam, 
Laminu, led a crusade from Kanern into Bornu against the 
Fulani. For some time he sat down at Ngornu, but was eventually 
driven from there, and, penetrating into Bornu, attacked the 
Fulani and drove them out from Birni, just forty days after 
the occupation of the capital by the latter. After this event 
Laminu founded and built Kukawa. During his reign the 
remnants of the Kanuri from Birni came under his protection, 
and they built for themselves the town of Ghamberu, near 
Kukawa, where they remained until it was broken by Rabeh. 

" With the settling of Laminu at Kukawa the true Kanembu 
element was introduced into Bornu, and except for intermarriage, 
which took place between them and the Birni remnants, the 
Kanembu must be looked upon as a separate element from 
the original Kanuri." 

The term Kanuri is colloquially applied both to Kanuri 
offshoots proper and to Kanembu offshoots, which are all in- 
cluded in the estimated population of 450,000 residing in Bornu 
Province. The Kanuri have spread over most parts of the 
protectorate, where the Haussa name, Beri-beri, is in common 

There are some 28,000 in the Gombe Emirate, and 780 in 
the Hill Districts of Bauchi Province. 

They are distributed thoughout the province of Kano, with 
the exception of the Emirates of Messau and Dambam. 

There are 760 reported from the divisions of Nassarawa 
and Keffi in Nassarawa Province. 

They are scattered over Niger and Sokoto Provinces, 
and are found in the Yola Emirate, as also in Ilorin town. 

They are of the Tejani sect of Muhammadanism and observe 
the Koranic law. As a race they are, however, superstitious 
and have great dread of witchcraft and the evil eye. 

A warrant to proceed had to be obtained in a civil action, 
for the sum of one dollar (Maria Theresa). The currency con- 
sisted of cowries, Maria Theresa dollars (recently declared illegal), 
and English coinage. If the plaintiff could produce no witnesses, 
the case was decided on the defendant's oath. Loan was recog- 
nised, the usurer receiving interest at the rate of 20 per cent, 
on three months and 40 per cent, for six months. Succession 

* See Kamberri (Kam man, Kambari a Berber). 


was by Koranic law, an illegitimate child having no rigl 

A murderer was decapitated and a thief hung, but blood- 
money amounting to 550 dollars was generally accepted one 
tenth of the sum going to the Shehu and Mallams of the Court. 
If the guilty party were an Ajia or Katchella, a pot was attached 
to his neck and he was thrown into the river at Gumsei (Margawa 
District), by the Shehu's order. 

A man committing adultery was awarded fifty lashes, a 
woman was liable to be flogged and divorced, when she forfeited 
all claim to her dower money. Rape was punished by flogging 
and a fine, and marriage after seduction was enforced. 

Complete freedom is allowed before marriage, which takes 
place at an early age. 

In the first place the suitor gets a friend to arrange the match 
with the father of his elected bride, and a sum is agreed upon 
as initial payment perhaps ten dollars. The friend returns 
again to arrange a dower which will be paid to the woman on 
her husband's decease, or, in the event of his divorcing her, or 
should she predecease him, half the sum agreed upon is paid 
to her nearest relative. Immediately before the wedding the 
suitor sends a present of three dollars to the bride, a gown to 
her father, a small sum of money to her mother, and some present 
to her sister. On the marriage-day his father-in-law sends him 
a horse, ten gowns, a quantity of grain, cooked food, pots, 
slaves, money and a cow to start the new establishment, these 
being taken in procession to his house earlier in the day, the 
bride following later, on horseback, completely covered. As 
she reaches the threshold she clings to the gate-post, until the 
groom makes her a gift ; in the compound she refuses to loosen 
her cloak, and again to speak, until the groom has bought her 
compliance; and he makes a final present of ten dollars. These 
rites vary, of course, with the status of the parties concerned. 

A religious ceremony is performed at the bride's house, in 
presence of mutual friends. 

Marital obligations are that the man must provide his wife 
with a house, clothing, and food, and that the woman must 
cook for him. 

In the bigger towns there are a few rectangular mud houses, 
with one or even two storeys, surrounded by mud walls. The 
ordinary type is a round hut, of mud sometimes covered with 
grass with steep grass roofs, in circular compounds enclosed 
with zana matting. 

The men wear tobes or burnouses, and in time of war, lifidi 
(padded cotton), beneath their gowns, and a thick stuff helmet 
with small plates of mail. Some chain armour was also worn. 
Rabeh's soldiers wore a uniform of wide trousers, surmounted 

TRIBES. 221 

by a wide gown on which three shield-shaped pieces of coloured 
cloth were sewn, and a fez. The ordinary arm is the spear. 

The women wear cloths and do their hair in a number of 
close plaits, which radiate from the crown outwards into thickly 
frizzed ends. It is often powdered with cinnamon, which gives 
it a brownish colour. They stain their teeth and put a coral 
bead or stud of metal into one nostril. 

The tribal marks are variously ten to twelve parallel lines 
from the temples to the level of the mouth (Bauchi) ; seven lines on 
the right cheek with six lines above ; ten lines on the left cheek 
with ten lines above, and one zara (Sokoto). 

Relationship is counted through both sexes, and the second- 
name is usually that of the man's father, or of the woman's 

Slaves were kept, and were habitually given land to farm 
for their own profit by their masters, and they were permitted 
to hire land and sell produce on their own account. On Fridays 
and Sundays they could do as they pleased, but on other days 
were obliged to work for their masters. Household slaves 
ordinarily conducted trade arrangements on behalf of their 
masters, and kept a considerable percentage of the profit on 
sales for their own benefit. 

The head-man acts as trustee for the unoccupied lands of 
his district, and directs what bush may be cleared, for which 
he receives a small present. The right of occupancy subject 
to certain conditions passes to the heirs : first to the sons, 
failing them to the father. It can be held by women. 

When the first rains fall grass and wood are collected and 
burnt on the farm, and the surface of the ground is lightly broken. 
When the earth becomes moist the farmer sows his crops; millet 
and guinea-corn are generally grown, and maize in the vicinity 
of Lake Chad. Cotton, indigo, beniseed, beans and ground-nuts 
are widely distributed. Towards the end of the rains masakwa 
is planted on the black cotton soil melons, tomatos and onions 
are cultivated in irrigated gardens. When the rains finish the millet 
and (in the dry season) masakwa are harvested and left to dry on the 
ground. Later on they are threshed by the women in the fields 
in wooden mortars. The grain is then stored in big holes that are 
lined with corn-stalks and ashes against white ants, where it may 
be kept for a period of two years or more. A little wheat and 
barley is grown in December and Januar}'. Manure is little 
used except in the irrigated gardens. 

It is reported from Kano Province that the Kanuri, as farmers, 
are far in advance of the Filane, but are inferior to the Haussawa. 

In Yola Province they market garden a little, but are other- 
wise employed as riders and middlemen to the salt and potash 
trade. They collect scent from the pith of certain trees and from 
lichen, but above all they are dyers, a trade which they practically 


monopolise wherever they settle. They also excel as weave 
Barth tells how gunpowder was made in the country, and the 
blacksmiths even ventured on casting cannon. Locally made 
cannon were captured at Gumel, and are now in the Kano 

The Kanuri play an athletic game somewhat resembling 
hockey, called ' Dekkel," with crooked sticks and a dried 
palm kernel as ball. Six men play on each side, one of whom 
keeps ' back." The ball is teed in the centre of the ground 
after each goal has been scored, and kicking or throwing is 
not permitted. One side yells " Hit it to the north! " and the 
other side screams " Back with it! " as their excitement rises. 
There appear to be no other regulations. 

This game is played in the vicinity of Kukawa, and the natives 
claim it to be indigenous to the country, but a similar game is 
played at Agadez, and it was probably introduced by Arab 


The Katab are situated in the Kauru District in the south- 
west of Zaria Emirate, where they occupy an area of some 200 
square miles with a population of 5,000; they have also one 
township over the border in Nassarawa province. 

They are probably indigenous to their district. They show 
a certain affinity to the Kagoro and kindred tribes, who have 
adopted the Katab tribal marks, invented only two generations 
ago by a skilful operator, which consist of numerous short 
perpendicular cuts along the forehead from ear to ear and thirteen 
or more long slanting lines on each cheek from ear to chin. The 
incisions are painted with soot. 

Their language, too, resembles that of the Kagoro, Kaje, 
Attakka and Moroa, and their customs are similar. 

The women wear a bunch of leaves in front, and a conical 
shaped piece of bamboo, covered with string and decorated with 
beads and brass behind. They place wooden plugs in their 
upper and lower lips and shave their heads. 

The Katab are good agriculturalists and breed a considerable 
quantity of live-stock. They are great highwaymen and the 
first drop of water that an infant drinks is stolen, that, he may 
be thus early initiated in the craft. 

They are a pagan people, with belief in sorcery. There is 
a rock named Dutsin Kerrima in Nassarawa Province, which 
they declare becomes luminous every Sunday and Friday night, 
when white cattle are seen on the summit, herded by a white 
Filane girl. 

They are head-hunters and drink heavily. 

TRIBES. 223 


Katarawa are notified from the Godabawa District of Sokoto 


Mr. D. Cator. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

The Kaura are situated in the Jemaa District of Nassarawa 

They maintained their independence against the Filane, 
but in 1912 agreed to acknowledge the Sarkin Jemaa as their 
over-lord, though retaining their tribal Chief as district head-man. 

By their language, dress and customs they show affinity 
to the Attakka, Jaba, Kaje, Kagoma and Moroa. 


The Kauyawa are a small community of pagans inhabiting 
the hills of North Bauchi Emirate. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. R. McAllister. 

The Kengawa are first heard of as inhabitants of the kingdom 
of Illo* under " Agwasa,"f founder of that state. They were 
originally part of an exodus of peoples from Badar in the neigh- 
bourhood of Mecca, who had vainly opposed the coming of 
the Prophet.* 

After the downfall of Songhay many of them broke off and 
became for a while independent, but they were conquered and 
subdued by Kanta, Chief of the Kebbawa in the sixteenth century, 
Illo alone retaining its independence until the Filane Emir of 
Gando annexed it (circ. 1830 A.D.). 

There are now 3,000 Kengawa in Gando Emirate, and 6,000 
in Argungu, making a total of 9,000, exclusive of their offshoot, 
the Shangawa. 

It is not known how they came to be called Kengawa, for 
in their language ' Kenga " means Chief. 

* Vide History of Illo and Bussawa. 
| Or " Wuru," see Bussawa, p. 74. 


The ' Kenga," or Chief, was always of the blood royal, 
but was elected by the people from amongst the members of 
the ruling family. 

Crime was punished in the following way. A murderer 
paid the equivalent of 12, an adulterer 3, whilst theft on 
a large scale was punishable by death. 

Muhammadanism and Muslim customs are rapidly penetrating 
amongst the people, together with the use of the Haussa language, 
but the majority are still pagans, their religion being a form 
of animism. A spirit named :< Godakassa " is worshipped at 
a baobab tree near Fingila, another, named ' Berkassa," has 
a shrine on a hill near the town of Kengakoi ; whilst " Gworagwa," 
in the guise of a rock shaped like a man, is worshipped at a hill 
north of Kamba. A belief in Bori-demons exists, and the 
Chief of the Bori lives in a grove of bark-cloth trees on a hill 
to the east of Fanna. All baobab and tamarind trees are sacred, 
as also are very tall ant-heaps. 

Special sacrifices are offered at the sowing of corn, when a 
black bull and red cow or black goat, and a black fowl or a 
red goat and a white fowl are decapitated, and the blood smeared 
over the sacred spot. 

These sacrifices are also made when a death occurs, the 
flesh of the animals being eaten by the assembled relatives, 
whilst the bones are buried with the corpse. 

The dead are usually buried in a sitting position, with a 
monkey's skin tied round their loins. The grave is in the house 
or compound where death occurred, but if this should not be 
in a man's own home a handful of earth from the grave is placed 
in a calabash and ceremoniously carried to the house of the 
deceased by the strongest man present. 

Polygamy is practised. Women have a voice in the selection 
of their husbands. 

Boys are circumcised at the age of seven. 



Kano : Mr. C. N. Monsell. 
Bornu : Mr. J. H. C. Elder. 

The Keri-Keri are distributed over that region where Bornu, 
Kano, and Bauchi Provinces meet. 

It is probable that they are descendants of the Gamawa 
tribe, for it is recorded that circ. 1580 A.D., some 1,000 Gamawa, 
male and female, left Gaba, near Guddi, in the Fika District 
(Bornu), journeying northwards and westwards, and spreading 

TRIBES. 225 

over the bush-lands, making their headquarters in the neighbour- 
hood of Langoa. In connection with this it may here be stated 
that on occasions of great importance they journey to Guddi, 
their place of origin, to take the oath, or rather ordeal of the 
Gamawa, administered by a descendant of the great magician, 
' Jinja Gujeh," of earth from an Elder's grave, mixed with 
water. It results in death to the guilty (Potiskum). 

The ordinary oath is taken on the blacksmith's pincers, 
the covenanter ending his assertion with these words, ' If I 
do so, so may these catch me." The iron is then thrown to 
the ground, or, when sacrifice has been made, into the blood 
of the victim, which is slaughtered by the blacksmith. 

They speak a dialect of Gamawa, though the majority, 
in Kano Province at all events, speak Haussa also. 

They are not a united people and now variously recognise 
the overlordship of : 

(a) The Emir of Bauchi. 

(b) The Emir of Gombe. Population 1,945 in Bauchi Province. 

(c) Mai Idrisa of Fika, who rules over the Fika, Potiskum 
and Keri-Keri Districts, a total area of some 1,300 square 
miles, over which some 15,000 to 18,000 Keri-Keri are 
spread, and 

(d) The Emir of Katagum. 

(e) The Emir of Dambam, under whom the Jellum Keri-Keri 
were placed in 1905. 

This section state that their first Chief, " Baoura" (signifying 
" rat " in their language), lived in Shallawa and reigned over 
twelve towns, but that after his death each town had its own 
ruler, until, circ. 1810 A.D., Mallam Zaki of Bornu conquered 
them and selected one amongst them to be their head-man. 

They are a pagan people, and worship a good spirit named 
' Degge," and an evil spirit named ' Fifilla " this latter 
lives in the bush. An annual festival is observed in the dry 
season, when a trench is dug with sticks of the " dokora " tree 
and a round hole therein is rilled in with the tops of ant-heaps, 
with the blood of sacrificed animals and with taraunia sticks. 
The old men sit round this hole and when it is filled in the}' 
hear prophecies out of the ground, after which they take their 
sticks, disperse, and return to the town by different routes, the day 
ending in a carouse. They are heavy drinkers (pito), and say 
they would lose their strength were they to give it up. 

In Bauchi Province, however, they are more civilised. There 
they live on the plains, in walled towns, but elsewhere their 
villages are generally to be found on the tops of cliffs, as on 
the Keri-Keri plateau. The huts are made of mud with steep 
thatched roofs, each compound being surrounded by a fence 
of zana mats. The youths of the tribe live in a quarter apart 
from the rest of the inhabitants, in huts to which the entrance 


is so small that few full-grown men can creep in or out. There 
are large numbers of high mud granaries, raised from the ground, 
into which the grain is poured from above. When the granary 
is full a man climbs up and passes down calabashes full of the 
corn, but as it becomes empty a hole is made in the floor, whence 
it is allowed to drain out. Water is obtained from wells, which 
are lined at the top with logs of !< mareki," only a small square 
opening being left, and even on the tops of plateaus three hundred 
feet high the supply seldom gives out. 

Precautions are taken against attack. A trench is dug at the 
base of the cliff, which is hidden by grass and leaves ; the face 
of the hill is often so sheer that logs of wood are fitted into inters- 
tices in the rock to assist in its passage in time of peace, which 
logs are, of course, removed at the approach of danger; and 
huge boulders are stored on the edge in readiness to hurl down upon 
the approaching enemy. 

The principal weapon is the bow and arrow, and short swords 
are also used. 

There is said to be a place of retreat in the vicinity of Gwaza 
in Bornu, where there are supplies to support the whole population 
of Jellum for three months together the exact locality remaining 

The farms are in the plains below. Before breaking fresh 
bush a man sacrifices a cock and sprinkles blood upon the path. 
The soil is for the most part poor, but large crops of maiwa are 
grown in the Keri-Keri District. Considerable flocks of goats 
and sheep are kept, and some horses, cattle, and donkeys. 

They are not a trading people, though some few go westwards, 
never eastwards, with that object. 

They smelt, dye, and weave for local purposes. 

Formerly the Keri-Keri wore no clothing, but when strangers 
are in the vicinity the men now wear broad belts of highly orna- 
mented and fringed leather, pointed at the back, round the loins. 
The women don string girdles, to which square flaps of cloth are 
attached both in front and behind. 

The meat of dogs and bush-pigs is popular; kola nuts are 
unknown as an article of diet. 

On the birth of a child a cock is killed on the threshold of 
the compound and laid with its head towards the south. The 
elders assemble, step across it and name the infant a boy is 
always called after his grandfather. The following day a cock 
is killed inside the compound and prayers are offered over it 
for the baby's longevity and good fortune red sand having 
been rubbed over the body of the child. On the seventh day 
the elders return a third time, with a strip of leather, with which 
they bind the infant to its mother's back, and they all go to 
the well. If the child is a girl the mother walks round it twice, 
if a boy, three times. It is then taken, often though not always, 

TRIBES. 227 

to cross-roads, where a prayer is offered. On their return a feast 
is held. 

Before a youth is admitted to the status of manhood and 
marriage he has to undergo an ordeal. In the Keri-Keri hills 
the candidate is obliged to climb down a sheer face of cliff, the 
test being preceded by a drinking bout. 

A girl is seven or eight years old when the betrothal takes 
place, and the suitor gives his prospective father-in-law five 
calabashes of corn and one goat then, and every subsequent 
year until the marriage is consummated. 

A dower of five d'onkeys, five fowls and one sheep has to 
be paid in addition in former days an equivalent was given 
in slaves. 

On the marriage day women bring the bride to the groom's 
compound, on the threshold of which beaten corn, water, and 
the blood of a goat is sprinkled. Before she enters her new home 
the older women address her on her wifely duties. 

A corpse is washed, dressed in white and laid on a bed. On 
the second day the friends and relations assemble, and if the 
deceased was a cha-cha player all cha-cha players come and 
play in his compound. On the third day dancers and musicians 
come with a low-toned wind-instrument (Selah), a small drum 
(Kanjo), and a big war drum (Gonga). They dance on the grave 
itself, the burial ground being inside the town. The corpse is 
lain on its side, facing east, with the head to the north. The 
burial clothes and mementoes are placed in a deeper hole to 
the east of the body, and a black goat is sacrificed and eaten. 
One of the survivors makes a speech to the dead man, begging 
him to say that it is no use coming for more people as they are 
all dead already. If the deceased was a person of position the 
men ride out to open country in the west in full war accoutrement. 
A cow is sacrificed and divided amongst them, after which they 
all gallop back to the dead man's compound, which they raze 
to the ground (Dambam). 

Property and widows pass to the deceased's brother, failing 
him to his eldest son. Widows are sometimes permitted to 
marry some other person, when the dower paid for them is 
divided amongst the members of the compound. 


The Kiballo, Kinuka, and Kittimi tribes are situated in 
the southern division of Zaria Province, in the central part 
of the Guri-Srubu hills. 

They are industrious farmers, but the soil is poor. They 
keep some sheep and goats. 

They were first administered in 1907. 


They are pagans, but Muhammadanism is penetrating amon$ 
the Kiballo. 

They were head-hunters, and preserved the skulls of their 



Mr. D. Cator. Major F. Edgar. 

Mr. H. M. Frewen. 

The Kibyen are a very large tribe who were probably at 
one time united under a Chief at Bukuru, but who are now split 
into many sections, including those known as Burumawa, Kibbo, 
and Kibbun. Though scattered, they live at no great distance 
from one another, being situated in the hill districts south-west 
of Bauchi Province, north-west of Muri Province, and north- 
east of Nassarawa Province. 

In the Bukuru District of the Naraguta Division of Bauchi 
the Kibyen or Burumawa have a population of some 47,610, 
in the Kanam District they number some 9,494, and in the Bauchi 
Division 4,325. Others again are to be found in the Wase District 
of the Ibi Division of Muri. There are five villages known as 
Kibyen, Kibbo, or Kibbun in the Karshi District of the Jemaa 
Emirate in Nassarawa Province, with a total population of 
679. Their head-man states that the settlement was founded 
by his grandfather, who led a group of emigrants from a mountain 
in Bauchi Province. 

Nothing is known as to the origin of the tribe except that 
the Burumawa originally came from Wukari, migrating thence 
to Gwana. The Angas state that they found a race named 
Kibyen in the Fier District, whom they drove out. 

With the exception of those in Jemaa Emirate they have 
maintained their independence. 

The Kibyen resemble in many respects their neighbours and 
cognates the Sura, Gannawarri and Ngell, being essentially 
mounted spearmen rarely using the bow. They are radically 
different to their other neighbours the Jarawa, Jengre, Rukuba 
and Kwoll, though the latter are also mounted spearmen. In 
fighting capacity, though very numerous, they are inferior 
to all the tribes mentioned. They live in large agglomerations 
of compounds, each surrounded by a thick cactus hedge, which 
together form straggling towns often several miles in diameter. 

They are industrious agriculturists, and keep small humpless 
cattle. They are also keen sportsmen, and, mounted on small 

TRIBES. 229 

bare-backed ponies, form a large circle which is gradually con- 
tracted till the game is driven inwards. Their only weapon 
is the throwing spear. 

The men are nude but for a small case of plaited grass, and 
for grass or wooden leggings between the knee and ankle. The 
women wear either a bunch of leaves or a fan-shaped plaited 
ornament which hangs on the buttocks. Prior to marriage girls 
wear leaves behind, but after marriage add a bunch in front 
also. The majority however wear clothing now. 

The Kibbo do not practise circumcision. 

Four types of tribal marks are worn by the Burumawa of 
Kan am. 

(a) Four lines horizontally from each end of the mouth (or 
three cuts of five lines each), four lines again from the extremity 
of these drawn towards the ears, and four downwards, the three 
sets of lines meeting and forming a shape like the capital letter Y. 

(b) Lines in the shape of a ladder (i.e., "bille"), from the 
bridge of the nose under the eyes on both sides. 

(c) Ditto, straight down the centre of the forehead. 

(d) Three sets of five lines each, radiating outwards from each 
corner of the mouth. 

In Kanam they appear to have intermixed with other races. 
One town was originally founded by a Kanuri man, another by 
a Wurkum man from Ligari, a third by a Yergum man, who 
named the town Namaran after his tribal god, and here the old 
men still wear Yergum tribal marks, but the younger generation 
have Burum marks, as they despise the Yergum, who are, however, 
still coming down from the hills and settling amongst them. 
They practise the duo-decimal numerical system.* 
Youths marry between the ages of sixteen and twenty, and 
girls from thirteen to sixteen. The suitor first applies to the girl's 
father for his consent, and, if he obtains it, to the mother. He 
gives a dowry of hoes and goats to the value of 10,000 to 20,000 
cowries (i.e., IDS. to 2os.), and works upon his father-in-law's 
farm. A girl must submit to the arrangement, but a widow can 
only be re-married with her own consent. She usually marries 
her step-son, or half-brother, but may never marry her step-father. 

The first wife is the head one, but each woman has her own 

There are no restrictions on the repudiation of a wife, and 
a woman may divorce her husband for adultery or ill-treatment, 
though the former is not considered of much account. Adul- 
terers of both sexes are fined. In cases of seduction the male 
only is fined. No stigma attaches to an unmarried girl who 
bears a child, or to any child born out of wedlock. Tt belongs 

* Compare Kwoll, Mada, Mama, Ninzam, Numana, Nungu. 



to her father, unless it is the son of her suitor, who may claim 
it if he has already paid the dowry. 

Twins are not considered unlucky. 

The Chief had the right to seize any woman, whether married 
or unmarried. 

All property is inherited by the sons, the eldest receiving 
the larger share, together with the farm. He is responsible 
for his father's debts, must pay sadaki for his younger brothers, 
and act as guardian to any unmarried female children. Widows 
receive nothing but a share of corn in the bins. A man may 
make a will, but if he gives farm, house, or corn to strangers 
they have to perform the burial rites, which his own family will 
refuse to do. 

The head of a house is buried in a cloth. After forty days 
he is disinterred and the skull is placed inside an earthenware 
pot in a house. All the male members of the house pray to it 
continually, for neglect would be followed by misfortune, and 
all oaths are taken on it. No woman may approach it. 

Ancestor worship is the principal feature, but they practise 
fetish and witchcraft. They believe in re-incarnation. 

Cannibalism was not practised, or at all events was rare, 
amongst the Kibyen, a remarkable fact seeing that their neigh- 
bours and cognates, the Sura and Ngell, practised cannibalism 

Criminals and prisoners of war were enslaved, though the 
latter were practically treated as sons. Slaves were also purchased. 

The head-men of towns tried and punished criminal cases, 
the trial always being held at the place of domicile of the offender. 



Mr. Ackland. 

Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 


Mr. G. W; Webster. 

The Kilba are located in the north-east of Yola Province, 
in a district (Kilba) 750 square miles in extent, through which 
the main Yola-Maiduguri road passes, and of which Pella is 
the central town. A few Haussa traders have settled there, 
and there is one Filane settlement, otherwise the population of 
16,923 (22.56 per square mile) is Kilba. 

They are under the hereditary Chief of Hong, Arnado Guri, 
a Filane, who has been district-head since 1913, and who is 
responsible to the Emir of Yola. He is assisted by a Council. 
The tribal Chief was elected by the chief priest of Hong from 
the descendants of the founder of the clan " Dovi " or " Kovi,' 

TRIBES. 231 

the normal successor being chosen unless there was some reason 
to judge him unfit. The sons and nephews of " Dovi " were 
Chiefs of towns, and they and their descendants claimed immunity 
from all authority, as likewise the right to take anything or 
anybody they fancied from any village; consequently, as their 
numbers increased until they formed one quarter of the whole 
tribe, anarchy resulted. There are now two principal clans, 
descendants of Dagua and Chiariya, sons of Dovi. 

" Dovi," or " Kovi," is alike the ancestor and god of the 
Marghi, who are of the same stock as the Kilba, speaking the 
same language ; but they have lived apart for many generations and 
do not intermarry, except as the result of a successful raid where 
women have been captured. The Kilba are probably also allied 
with the Hona, who are connected with the Bura and eastern 
Lala tribes, and in bygone days they intermingled with the 
adjacent hill-tribes of the Kamerun. 

They claim to be indigenous to their present location, from 
which they were never dislodged by the Filane, having at first 
repelled the attacks of the Muslims by force, and then, by paying 
a small tribute, secured immunity from attack. 

Their townships are in strong positions on the tops, slopes, 
or valleys of the hills, each one having in connection with it 
some cave to which the population can withdraw in times of 
stress. Each compound is in itself a bewildering maze, and 
the confusion is added to by its often bearing two or three names. 

The men are clothed in leather loin-cloths, or aprons, or 
in short cloth gowns which are seldom, if ever, washed, and 
a small knife is always worn at the waist. Women are commonly 
nude except for a single string round the buttocks, from which 
a bunch of leaves mav be suspended, either to the front or to 
the back; or to which, in the case of widows (in mourning), 
some small iron beads shaped like hooks are attached to the front 
together with a tassel. 

Both sexes have their limbs and bodies extensively tattooed 
by means of a hot needle or knife; both wear iron and leather 
bangles, and the young people of both sexes wear beads in their 
hair, which is closely plaited, though some girls wear it as a 
mop plastered over with red clay. Married women shave their 
heads. They are a very drunken race, both sexes imbibing 
beer freely, but they are of indomitable spirit and would rather 
that the whole village should be destroyed than surrender any 
individual to justice. They are armed with short swords of 
soft iron, light barbed spears, and bows and poisoned arrows. 

They carry shields of buffalo hide. 

Highway robbery was a favourite pursuit, and hunting, 
cattle-grazing, fanning, iron- working, and weaving and dyeing 
for local use are the ordinary occupations. 


Sheep, goats, hill cattle (which are never milked), and 
few horses, constitute the livestock of the country. Fowls are 
deliberately caponised, which is the case in few other parts of 

The soil is poor, dry, and stony, and the water supply is 
bad, despite the mountainous character of the region, where 
the hills rise to a height of 3.300 feet. 

It is on the tops of the hills that religious worship is carried 
on, and particularly on the Hong and Pella rocks, where the 
two chief priests reside. The evil spirit, ' Katu," is there 
worshipped, prayer being made to him to avert sickness and 
to grant a good rainfall. The principal annual festival is held 
at the beginning of June, when the people assemble for several 
days together to drink and dance. Both sexes are very heavy 
drinkers. No sacrifice is ever made, but occasionally a hen 
is offered in propitiation. Hong was burnt on the occupation 
of the British, and the Kilba believe that "Katu" left his 
habitation there at that time on account of the noise of the 
rifle fire, and a large iron hook inside an earthenware pot on 
the top of Hong Hill is now revered as his symbol. He still 
frequents the inaccessible column of rock at Pella. His shrine 
is everywhere represented by two earthenware pots, laid on 
the ground with a clear space between them where 'Katu" 
walks. Each pot contains some small Ju-ju. 

Accused persons are brought here, together with their families, 
to undergo trial by ordeal. A white calabash containing water 
is passed over the pots, and herbs, gathered by the priests from 
the neighbourhood of the shrines, added to it. The accused 
and his whole family drink this concoction, and if he is guilty 
death results. 

Another form of ordeal* is undergone at the pool of Uba, 
at the bottom of which a giant snake is said to reside, which 
causes a sw r irl in the water when it is disturbed, and where croco- 
diles also live. The disputant has to swim across, and if he has 
sworn truly he does so with ease, but a liar is caught in the current 
and cannot move until he confesses his guilt, when it releases 

Each family or clan recognises some animal as its totem, 
claiming that their ancestors, before they took human shape, were 
descended from such animals, and that they themselves may 
equally well be reborn in the guise of the ancestral beast as 
in mortal form. 

Each clan has its symbolic dances and rites, which are always 
carried on at the time of burial, and generally begin as soon after 
death as may be. Immediately after death the corpse is washed 

* Ditto Hona, Marghi. 

TRIBES. 233 

with soap and is then laid out nude close to a fire that it may 
be well smoked, sometimes in aromatic herbs, while an old 
woman keeps off the flies. When the skin cracks with the heat 
men peel it oft* and place it in a pot, which is buried anywhere. 
A child is buried on the day of death, but a woman not for twenty- 
four hours, nor a man for forty-eight hours, and in the latter case 
the corpse is smeared with mud and onions in a not very successful 
effort to retard decomposition. The body is robed in blue and 
white gowns, sometimes in as many as four, to which, in the case 
of a man, trousers are added. It is then laid out to view on 
a mat that all the members of the family may come and see 
it. The burial takes place at sunset, when the body is laid at 
full length on its left side, facing west, with the left hand under 
the head and the right hand straight along the side. The grave 
is either shaped like a reversed T, i.e., JL, or may be in an ordinary 
pit with a recess at one side. In the latter case the recess is 
used to store weapons, food, tobacco, pipe, flint and tinder for 
the benefit of the deceased, but this is by no means a universal 
custom. The grave is dug by the village blacksmitn, but the 
same one may be used over and over again. It usually has a 
depth of from four feet to six feet and is in the compound, but 
in some cases the burial ground is on the hill. When the grave 
is filled in, care is taken that the earth does not touch the body. 
A small mound is left to mark the place of burial. 

The Arnado is buried on the day of his death in a sitting 
position. Every village sends its representatives, each on a 
different day, to dance over the place where he died. It is said 
that no Kilba ever died away from his country, and that for 
however many years he might be absent, food was put in readiness 
for him in the expectation of his return. 

No woman is present at a burial, but after the allotted period 
of six months' mourning is over the widows receive alms of food, 
grain, and goats, which they take to the grave. The goats are 
sacrificed and some beer is drunk, whilst, the rest is poured over 
the grave; the offerings are then taken away and eaten. That 
concluding ceremony over the widows pass to their late husband's 
heirs, or may regain the disposal of their persons by repayment 
of their dowers to the estate. 

The original marriage was one of free-will, for though a man 
may approach a girl's parents before she is of marriageable 
age it is unusual for hirn to do so, and the girl is not obliged to 
ratify the contract. Generally he proposes to her direct, and 
if she accepts him he goes to her parents, giving her mother 
two goats and his bride two cloths and two goats, and with the 
help of his friends he builds a hut and makes a farm for the 
reception. When this is done he makes a feast and gives some 

* Compare Vere 

^ 34 


zana mats and beer to the girl's father, and to her, four goats, 
a head of salt and of tobacco, while she gives him her bracelets 
to keep for her a? a mark of confidence. On the marriage day 
he gives her parents six gowns each and meat, and takes his 
wife to his home. A month later the couple visit her people, 
presenting them with a goat, a chicken and a gown. When 
the bride finds herself enceinte she takes a large present of 
food to her mother, but returns to her husband's house until 
she is delivered. For the first five days after the birth of her 
child she eats one fowl, and on the sixth takes her baby to her 
mother's compound, where she remains for three years. During 
that time her husband keeps her supplied with meat, preferably 
with bull's head, as that is thought to be the most strengthening 
diet, and he is at liberty to take to himself another wife if he 
so wills. When his first wife returns to him he gives her father 
three or four gowns. The child is left with its grand-parents 
until it is grown up, when it returns to its parents. 

There is great rejoicing at the birth of twins. A barren woman 
crawls four times through a small tunnel that is dug in the ground, 
in the hope that by so doing she may become prolific. 

Intercourse before marriage is not allowed, and adultery 
is rare. It is punished by personal force. 

Divorce may be settled by mutual arrangement between 
the families, but can always be obtained on repayment of the 

Crime and torts are generally avenged by the aggrieved 

person, or by his family. Thus a murderer's life is forfeit, or 

the life of one of his family, so long as the victim's relatives are 

strong enough to take it ; in the same way a thief may be forced 

to make good double the value of what he has taken. 

Disputes are sometimes referred to the village Chief, or 
to the Arnado, and in cases of debt the village Elders may 
order payment, but compulsion is unknown. 

A record of debt is kept by means of tallies of elephant grass, 
one being added to the bundle by way of interest as the live-stock 

Sales or loans are always negotiated in the presence of 


Captain H. L. Norton-Traill. Commander B. E. M. Waters. 

The Kinkera inhabit the Ara hills in Nassarawa Emirate, 
where they have a population of 1,235. 

TRIBES. 235 

They are the offspring of some hundred hunters from the 
Katsina District, who intermarried with the Gade women of 
that neighbourhood. 

The original settlers spoke Haussa and bore similar tribal 
marks to those worn by Katsinawa, Kebbawa and Gobirawa, 
i.e., a number of lines from the temples terminating at the 
corners of the mouth. The language has, however, now de- 
generated to a bastard Gwandara, and tribal marks are no longer 


AUTHORITY : Mr. H. S. W. Edwardes. 

The Kirr are an independent tribe in Bauchi Division. 
They have a population of 1670, occupying half a dozen 
small villages ten miles south of Bauchi City. 


The Kofiar inhabit the Ibi Division of Muri Province. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 

The Komawa have a population of 1,270, 420 of whom are 
situated in Bauchi Emirate and 850 in Gombe Emirate. 

They speak a dialect of Tangale, but their origin is uncertain. 

One report says that they came from Kanaku in the neigh- 
bourhood of Shani (R. Hawal), together with some Filane kinsfolk, 
some centuries ago, and they are, therefore, occasionally alluded 
to as Kanakuru, together with the Dera and Jera tribes, to 
whom the name is more generally applied. A Jukon head-man 
says that they came from Kakali (whose inhabitants were probably 
Tangale), near Awok. And the third version has it that they 
are the original inhabitants of Kafaretti* (Kwom), near Gadam, 
where the majority still live. 


The Kombo occupy a district on the right bank of the Gongola, 
north of Waja, in Gombe Emirate, Bauchi Province. 

* See Bolewa history p. 63, where it is mentioned that the Bolewa 
settled at Kaiaretti and adopted Tangale, the speech of its inhabitants, with 
whom they intermarried, but whom they knew as Rogdo. 



AUTHORITY : Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Kona are an offshoot of the Jukon. Some 4,035 live 
in a district of thei - own name in the Lau Division of Muri 
Province. Four or five generations ago a colony came thence 
and settled in the Maio Belwa distiict of Yola Province ; they 
acknowledged the suzerainty of the Batta. As the power of 
the Filane ncreased their allegiance was transferred and they 
are now in the Filane Emirate Division.* 

They speak a dialect of Jukon, but it can barely be understood 
by a Jukon from another country. 

The Chief is elected by the votes of the whole tribe, but 
he must be of the blood royal. He has considerable power and 
may fine, imprison, or execute his people, but punishments 
for certain crimes are laid down. A homicide, if he is caught 
the same day, is shot or beheaded; but if he has escaped for 
a whole night, his lands are forfeit, he has to pay damages, and 
he is imprisoned for an indefinite period. If it was accidental 
manslaughter, as at a hunt, the delinquent may be excused, 
but carelessness is commonly considered criminal. Theft is 
very rare and is severely punished. A thief is either buried 
alive wp to the neck, or is stoned to death. 

An adulterer is liable to the payment of damages, as also 
to be imprisoned and flogged, if the woman was sixteen years 
of age or over. Under that age it is no crime. 

Civil disputes are carried to arbitration before the Chief, 
who is assisted by a Council of Elders. In cases where there 
are no witnesses, recourse may be had to trial by ordeal. 

A debtor may be imprisoned, but his goods may not be 

The Chief holds land in trust for his people, and must apportion 
it to any tribesman who demands a holding, when the right 
of occupancy henceforth belongs to him and his heirs, so long 
as they remain in the district and observe the tribal laws. No 
individual has the right to lend, let, or sell his right of occupancy. 
When a man is about to incur a long absence he informs the 
Chief, who holds the land in trust for him until his return, but 
may allow anyone to farm it meanwhile. On his return the 
former occupier, or his heir, pays a cloth (value is.) as com- 
pensation for removal. 

A stranger may be given a right of occupancy, but forfeits 
all claim should he leave the country. 

* It is from this Yola Colony that the following information has been 
supplied . 

TRIBES. 237 

A ceremony of initiation takes place before a foreigner, 
or boy, is admitted as full member to the tribe. Before the age 
of puberty a boy is circumcised, after which he is taken on his 
first hunting expedition and is then conducted by his father or 
guardian to the feast that follows it. The ceremony is completed by 
the sacrifice of a goat at the threshold of the temple, where its 
blood is buried, the flesh being roasted and eaten. A haunch 
of roan, hartebeeste, or kob and a pot of beer are given to the 
officiating priest. 

It is the duty of every man to protect his fellow-tribesman 
against the members of any other tribe. 

Descent is reckoned through the mother. 

Men and women belonging to the same section of a village, 
or bearing the same name, may not intermarry. Similarity 
of feature is also a bar, as it is attributed to the re-incarnation 
of relatives. 

A girl is betrothed from the time of her birth, the system 
being by exchange from one family to another. 

A family in this connection consists of parents and children, 
brothers and sisters and their children. There is no dower, but 
presents of goats, cloth and dried fish are exchanged. 

A man who has got a wife may not exchange his sister, 
daughter, or niece for another wife for himself until all the adult 
members of his family are mated. 

When the girl is eight years old she sleeps in her husband's 
house, but lives with her own people until she is sixteen. 

If a child is born to her by another man it belongs to her 
lawful husband, but does not inherit, and works as a servant 
until it is of marriageable age. 

There is no divorce. 

The first wife has authority over subsequent ones. 

The dead are buried at once and a festival is held, to which 
friends contribute corn from which the beer is made. Both 
sexes assemble and sing and dance for six days; a beer-drinking 
orgy concludes the festival. Widows return to their own families 
and may be re-exchanged in marriage if they are willing. 

Sons inherit from their fathers, and daughters from their 
mothers, but in the event of their being minors the man's brothers 
or the women's sisters hold the property in trust for their nephews 
or nieces. 

Heirs are responsible for debts. 

The Kona believe that the spirits of the dead live a while 
with the god, Nyaku, and then return to earth as meteorites, 
which they worship ; some of them are re-incarnated. Stones 
found inside animals are thought to contain the souls of ancestors, 
who will impart much hunting skill to the finder, but it does 
not deter them from eating the flesh of the animal. 



Two gods are worshipped, Nyaku and Pirakwoi, both of 
whom once lived on earth as demi-gods, married, and gave birth 
to the ancestor of the Jukon. 

An hereditary high priest converses with the spirits and 
proclaims their orders to the male populace, who wait outside 
the temple, as none but the priest may enter it. Offerings of 
goats, game, fowls and beer are frequently made, the priest 
taking the heads and entrails, whilst the meat is divided between 
the heads of families, and all drink the beer. The great annual 
feast is held after the harvest is gathered, and there are smaller 
celebrations after the first rains have fallen, and after a hunt; 
but women, together with loose-talkers, are excluded from all 
ceremonies. In addition to the tribal temple each house has 
a small shrine : where almost daily libations are offered to the 
spirits of the dead. 



Mr. H. Cadman. Mr. A. Campbell-Irons. 

Mr. T. W. P. Dyer. Mr. C. Migeod. 

Mr. \V. Morgan. Captain S. C. Taylor. 

Captain H. L. Norton-Trail t. 

The Koro are distributed through Nassarawa and Niger 
Provinces, stretching from Lafia Emirate, their south-easterly 
point, where they number some 1,412, in a north-westerly 
direction through the Keffi Division population 3,646 ; in 
the Kagherko District (Zaria Province), where they number 
some 4,744 ; (they were probably the original inhabitants of 
that district. On its occupation by the Filane they were 
nicknamed Kado-pagans, and though they have adopted the Haussa 
language and abandoned their old customs to a large extent, are 
still regarded as an inferior race) ; and the Abuja Emirate, popu- 
lation 12,834 ', across the Gurara River to the Niger Province, 
in the Paiko and Kuta Districts, where they number some 
2,677. This gives a total population of over 25,000. 

It is said that they were originally one of the ten largest 
tribes in Northern Nigeria. The ruins of their ancient capital, 
Jonkwil, show it to have been one-third the size of Kano city, 
giving it an area of from three to four square miles. It was well 
fortified, and is reported to have been very rich, but was deserted 
in the first half of the nineteenth century. There is a theory 
that Koro is a corruption of Kororofa, and that they are 
therefore a remnant of that people, who at one time possessed 
the lower and part of the middle section of Haussaland, who 

TRIBES. 239 

were connected with the Mandingoes, and whose origin was 
from Sango in the east country south of Bornu.* However, 
that may be the Koro are now divided into three sections, the 
Zuba, N'ja, and Funtu. The two former are of much higher 
type than the latter, and they all claim to have come Irom 
Bornu, whence they were driven by the Kanuri. Their Gwari 
neighbours acknowledge the Koro supremacy now as they d.d 
in Bornu. 

The Zuba were the first to come and settle at Chachi, the 
guardian village to the sacred hill of Abuja. They were followed 
at the end of the eighteenth century by another section of Koro, 
Muhammadans, who were led by Mallam Isa to Zuba. The 
N'ja are a still later immigration. The Koro seem to have recog- 
nised the suzerainty of the Chief of whatever district they may 
have settled in, who, generally speaking, was the Sarkin Zaria. 
Therefore, at the time of the Filane invasion, the Koro of Keffi 
continued their allegiance to the new Filane Emir of Zaria, 
while those further west followed the deposed Haussa Sarkin 
Zozo, who became Sarkin Abuja, to whom they paid a tribute 
of slaves and gaisua. No Ajele or Jakada dwelt amongst them, 
and their own Chiefs, who presided over the religious festivals, 
had no authority with Koro outside their own district. The 
Zuba and N'ja speak dialects of the same language and readily 
understand each other; that of the Funtu is not so similar. The 
use of Haussa is increasing. 

The Koro are a light-coloured race, with fine-cut features, 
small in stature and slight. Their physique is deteriorating, 
a condition that may be due to the fact that for many years past 
they have inoculated their children with syphilis. 

Their tribal marks consist of two light cuts stretching from 
the ear to the mouth, with three small lines above and below 

The men wear a small loin-cloth, and at certain festivals 
blacken their bodies with cotton oil, on to which they paint white 
streaks in herring-bone pattern. 

The women and children wear nothing. 

In more civilised districts however skins or cloths are worn 
by both sexes. 

Bows, barbed arrows with poisoned tips, and hatchets are 
the tribal weapons. 

Their habitations are usually hidden away in clearings made 
amid dense forest, and are unfortified. 

The Funtu build their huts close together and have no com- 
pounds. In the Keffi Division the Koro were driven into the 
hills, whence they have to come long distances to their farms. 
They also dispense with compounds. 

* Vide Jukon. 


They excel as farmers, usually cultivating from two and 
a half to two and three quarter acres of land per head (adult 
male). The land is allocated in the first place to the villagers 
and the right of occupancy passes to the man's sons. The occupant 
has an exclusive right to the fruits of all trees grown upon his 
land, but the shea and locust trees n uncleared bush may be 
gathered by anyone. Rotation of crops is practised. A large 
proportion of he grain is used in brewing beer, as the Koro are 
a drunken race. They are also g eat smokers. 

Some among them are weavers and leather workers, and 
in the Abuja Division they smelt iron from the end of April 
till the middle of August, producing from 135 to 160 worth 
of metal per annum; some of this is locally smithied. Others 
of the Koro weave thread, or make rope, and a considerable 
trade in palm-kernels is carried on. 

They are hun smen and go out singly, armed with bows and 
arrows, or collectively or organised drives. They .dig pits on 
the game runs, six feet in depth, the sides s oping outwards 
from top to bottom. A poisoned arrow is fixed in an upright 
position at the bottom. Bamboo sticks, carefully covered 
with light earth, are stretched across the mouth of the pit, 
which they effectually conceal. 

The Koro are a pagan tribe, amongst whom Muhammadanism 
is now penetrating, but the converts, as for instance in Zuba 
town, continue to observe man}' of their pagan customs. 

Amongst the Zuba Koro ' Kaka-maiwa " (maize harvest), 
is the principal festival, one in which women are not allowed 
to participate. Both sexes unite in worshipping the god " Bodu- 
Wagu." Human sacrifice was offered until recently at Arbuchi 
and at Abuja rock. 

The N'ja Koro men sacrifice to a god called "Kukwoo," 
but on y the priests are allowed to enter his temples. Both 
sexes join in the ' Kaka-maiwa " festival. 

The name of the Funtu Koro god is Nchupe, who is worshipped 
by the men only, through inanimate objects. Festivals are 
held in his honour, when sacrifice is made by the priests. The 
general principle is to propitiate a powerful influence, which 
if unfavourable would ruin the crops and make the women barren. 
There is a tsafi outside every town, either a stick, stone, tree, 
or, more commonly, three horns raised on a mound of earth 
which is covered with rags. Oaths are taken on these emblems. 
r In the Paiko Division it is described how a festival ends in 
drinking, singing and dancing, when the men crawl one over 
another on the ground like the windings of snakes. 

Marriage outside the tribe is not permitted, but the restriction 
is no longer enforced. First cousins may marry. 

When a girl is betrothed the groom pays a first instalment 
of his dowry, and works on his future father-in-law's farm, 

TRIBES. 241 

giving four hundred cowries at the sowing season, and again 
at the harvest season for five years, when the wedding takes 
place (Zuba and N'ja), or, if the girl refuses him, the value elf 
the presents is returned. Amongst the Funtu a girl is usually 
betrothed on her birth, when the groom cuts and presents to 
her mother a certain grass (gamba), also a mat and a door-screen 
for the infant. The first year he gives one bundle of guinea-corn, 
one bundle of acha, and one bundle of tsintsia; the second 
year he gives two bundles of each, increasing the number by 
one bundle every year until a maximum of ten is reached, when 
he starts with one over again. When his bride is of marriageable 
age he pays three thousand cowries to her father and gives her 
twelve strips of black cloth. She wears one of these on the 
wedding day, when a ceremony of capture is gone through. 

The first wife is the head one, and each wife has her own 
hut. Not more than three wives are allowed to any one man, 
except to the sons of Chiefs, who may have four each, and to the 
Sarki himself, who is unlimited in number. After his first marriage 
a man makes a farm for himself, but he must continue to work 
for his father unless there are two sons at home to do so. 

Divorce is not permitted unless for commanding cause, but 
a woman is not punished for leaving her husband, though she 
may not subsequently return to his village. 

A child is suckled for three years, during which time the 
mother lives apart from her husband. 

A woman may own property, which passes on her death to 
her sons, or failing them to her own family. 

A man's property passes to his sons, or failing them to his 
father, mother or uncle. His widows go to his younger brothers, 
who, however, by waiving the right to them, may succeed to the 
property (failing sons), which, however, they must divide with 
the deceased's daughters. Debts are not inherited. 

It is the custom amongst the Funtu for the son, on succeeding, 
to give a present to his uncle, who, moreover, may only take 
the widow so long as his relationship with the deceased is on 
the paternal side. Failing a brother, the son, or daughter's son, 
succeeds to the widows, so long as he is not himself her descendant. 
Otherwise a widow returns to her own family, but must always 
marry a widower, and a widower a widow, the wedded state 
being obligatory. Children are in the keeping of their father's 

Punishment was variously applied, but serious crime was 
of rare occurrence. Murder was punishable by death (Zuba 
and N'ja), or the criminal, together with his immediate family, 
might be sold into slavery to Zaria (Funtu) . A thief was flogged 
by the aggrieved party with the help of his neighbours (Zuba 
and N'ja). He was fined by the Funtu. Seduction and adultery 
were ordinarily punished by a hundred lashes, which might 



be bought off at the rate of five hundred cowries a piece, but 
the aggrieved husband had the right to poison the co-respondent 
(Zuba and N'ja). The Funtu drove the criminal from the town, 
whither he might ultimately be allowed to return on the payment 
of beer and one goat, to which each member of his family added 
a chicken. 



Mr. P. A. Benton. 

Mr. C. Wight wick. 

The main body of the Koyam are in French territory, having 
been driven north from the vicinity of Geidam by Rabeh. A 
section of them migrated before these troublous times, about 
1810 A.D., with Sokoto as their objective, but on reaching Hadeija 
they were persuaded to settle there. 

Those who remain are semi-nomadic cattle owners, in the 
districts of Bussugua, Ngunse and Gusumalla in British Bornu. 
They likewise carry on a certain trade in salt, and the women 
earn money as water-carriers. 

Captain Tilho writes that they came from Yemen and, after 
spending many centuries in the course of their wanderings, 
arrived in Kanem towards the end of the seventeenth century. 
By permission of the Tuba Sultan, forty of them founded a 
mosque and school at Belbali, which was attended by scholars 
who came from all parts of the country, but it was dispersed 
by the founder's son, and some of the pupils who followed him 
broke off and settled as herdsmen in different parts of the country. 
It is their descendants who remain in British Bornu. Others, 
under descendants of the first Chief, lived ascetic lives to the 
north-east of Geidam and are now at Munio. 

They intermarry with the Kanuri and speak a dialect of 
Kanuri. It has been said that they are of Kanuri stock, but 
they show more affinity to the Kanembu. 


The Kubawa are pagans inhabiting the plains of Bauchi 
Emirate, north of Bauchi city, and a few miles south-west of 
Gombe town. 

They have a population of 1,090, distributed in small hamlets. 

Thev have little civilization and the women are unclothed. 

TRIBES. 243 


AUTHORITY : Mr. S. M. Grier. 

The Kudawa, a tribe of some 4,100 people, are situated in 
the independent state of Ningi in the north of Bauchi Province 
(3,000), and in the Bauchi Emirate (1,100). 

They came originally from the neighbourhood of Basse Hill 
in Lemme District, and are probably of the same stock as the 
Maguzawa, south of Kano. They show considerable affinity 
to the neighbouring tribes, the Ningawa, Butawa, Afawa and 

Their language is similar to that of the Ningi, with whom 
they live in close juxtaposition, but it is rapidly being abandoned 
in favour of Haussa. 

Like them, they worship a tribal as well as a family or clan 
god, whose chief attribute is fertility. Every fourth year a 
feast of circumcision is celebrated in the sacred grove, which 
no woman may attend, and where boys of seven years old or 
upwards are left for a period of two months, before they may 
return to' their villages. The Chief and high priest were one 
and the same person. 

They also believe that certain persons have the power of 
assuming the forms of animals, particularly that of elephants, 
while different families have the power of taking the shape of 
particular animals, the flesh of which is therefore tabu to them. 

Muhammadanism is, however, rapidly superseding paganism 
amongst them. 

The groom gives a small present to the father of the bride. 
Women frequently desert their husbands. 

Men are buried on their right, women on their left sides, 
their heads resting on their hands and their knees drawn up. 
An important man is thought to have influence on the fortunes 
of the community for one year after his death, and a wake is 
held at the end of that time, the honour which he is then accorded 
depending on the intervening prosperity of the tribe. 

Disputes are settled by the clan, or family head, who usually 
demands that oath should be taken on the family god in the 
sacred grove. The accused might, however, be asked to bring 
a cock to the grove, where it was beheaded; if it fell on its back 
he was acquitted, if. forwards he was condemned. This test 
was also used in consulting omens as to the good or ill fortune? 
of the tribe, when a festival was held and libations offered. 

The tribal marks consist of two small cuts above the eye 
and two on the cheeks near the nostril, also one scar from the 
nostril to the lips, and several long, somewhat circular lines 
along the cheek from the eyebrow to chin. 



AUTHORITY : Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Kugamma were driven from the Vere hills after a conflict 
over the possession of a fetish, and are probably of Vere origin. 
They came for a while under Batta suzerainty and have lost 
many of their traditions. 

They now occupy the foot of the Shere hills, west of the 
Maio Belwa, and were drawn into Yola Emirate by alliance with 
Filane settlers. 

They are divided into two main sections, the Kugamma and 
Gengli, the latter Chief being paramount. His title is " Ba," 
and succession is to a male member of the male line of the royal 
family by election. He is, however, only a figure-head. The 
elders are summoned to a council, when tribal matters are dis- 
cussed, by an iron rod which is sent round to all and then set 
up in the centre of the council. (This is similar to the Vere 
practice.) The family appear to be responsible for maintaining 
law and order, and it is they who avenge murder. 

A man accused of theft, debt, slander, or adultery may 
demand trial by shooting. He is then given a bow by a third 
party and he declares his innocence on the weapons of his ancestors. 
He must then fire an arrow at the first animal he sees and if 
he hits it he is acquitted. The slanderer or guilty party, as 
the case may be, has to pay a fine of a goat, bracelet, strip of 
cloth and two hoes. 

Trial by sasswood ordeal is also practised. 

The life of an adulterer is forfeit to the husband, and in addition 
his relations must pay damages before they may bury the deceased. 

Other offences are dealt with by mediation or force. 

Loan is common, and is reckoned by bundles of grass-tallies, 
though there is no way of enforcing payment by tribal law. 
Property is commonly pledged (not human beings), and a person 
may hire out his services for board, or in lieu of full payment 
of dowry. 

Sale is not held to have taken place unless transacted before 
two witnesses. 

Lunatics are confined and their property managed by their 
wives and brothers until their recovery. 

Land is communal and is apportioned amongst the heads 
of families, who give it out to individual men of the family. 
The right of occupancy may be let, but only within the tribe, 
and when an occupier goes away his right to the land lapses. 
Boundaries are marked with stone cairns. 

In the dry season the land is cleared and stumps burned. 
When the first rain falls a fowl is sacrificed on the ground, which 
is then lightly hoed and sown. Another fowl is sacrificed before 

TRIBES. 245 

harvest, the first corn being cut by the Chief with a knife smeared 
with the root of the " Gadr " (a bulrush which is dried and 
ground into a white flour, and eaten in time of famine. It is 
said to be fattening). 

A rough two years rotation is observed, dawa, jigarib, and 
beans being grown together one season, ground-nuts another. 
These are the staple crops of the country, in addition to which 
a fair number of yams and a little rice are grown. 

Sheep, goats, dogs, fowls and an odd cat or two are kept. 

Strips of cloth, hoes, iron bars, bracelets, and goats form 
the habitual currency. 

The men are hunters and the adjacent villages join in organ- 
ising big drives, each section keeping to its allotted place. The 
man who draws first blood gets the animal, with the exception 
of the shoulder, which goes to the man who hits it next. Each 
divides his share amongst his village. 

Families include blood relations on both sides to the fourth 
and fifth degree. A man on receiving a hut of his own becomes 

A woman marrying into another tribe retains her own nation- 
ality unless she renounces it. 

Girls are betrothed at birth and are reckoned as members of 
the groom's family, he being probably about four or five years 
old. When his fiancee is three months old he gives her a bracelet 
and thenceforth contributes to her support, bringing edible rats, 
large-bodied flying-ants, game, etc. When she is seven years old he 
builds a hut in her parents' compound and cohabits with her. When 
she is sixteen years old he makes payment to her parents of 
six things, including a goat, bracelet, strip of cloth, two hoes, 
and takes her to his house. Until this day adultery with her is 
not a legal offence, but the groom can claim back his dower. 
A woman can at any time get a divorce by repayment of the 
dowry. A man may not marry any of his wives' relations, 
however distant, but he is permitted to marry his own first 
cousin or others of more distant degree, though it is unusual 
for him to do so. A man is limited to six wives. 

No child may be given the name of a living man or woman. 

Boys are circumcised just before the age of puberty. The 
ceremony is usually performed after the harvest has been gathered 
and is preceded by three months' feasting. This period ended, 
the candidates and elders retire into the bush, where the operation 
is performed to the accompaniment of drumming and singing. 
The boys are held round the neck by a brass-bound crook and 
to flinch is a disgrace (this is identical with the Vere custom). 



They do not return to the village until they are healed, when 
they take their position as men. 

When a death takes place the body is wrapped in cloth, 
and the friends bring grain and heap it upon the corpse, women 
keening the while. A young person is buried on the day of death, 
but an old person is kept for thirty-six hours to see if the body 
swells, for if it does it is thought to be a sign that the deceased 
was a wizard and that the familiar is attempting to escape. 
In such a case the body is buried naked, in a desert place, without 
rites. There is no punishment for witchcraft during life. 

Beer is brewed on the day of death, and when it is ready 
a big dance and feast is held. At this wake the property is 
divided. An only son takes half, two sons take three fourths, 
and four sons the whole of the property the residue going to 
the brothers of the deceased. Failing sons brothers inherit, 
then their sons, and then the nearest male relatives. Bequests 
are unknown. The successor is responsible for all debts. 
Daughters inherit their mother's fringed belt, but her property 
passes to her sisters, or failing them to her brothers. 

On the death of their father boys are under the guardianship 
of their step-father (who must either be a brother or uncle of 
the deceased), or failing him to their mother's nearest male 

As afore-mentioned a widow must marry the brother or 
uncle of her late husband, but she is allowed to choose which 
of them. She mourns for one month, after which each candidate 
for her hand brews a pot of beer and puts it in her house. They 
return to find her sitting at the threshold, and one by one ask 
leave to enter and fetch the beer. She hands the beer to the 
rejected, permitting the chosen suitor alone to enter. 

The Kugamma believe that they can communicate with 
the spirits of the dead after sacrificing something on their graves, 
and that the answers are conveyed in dreams. 

They believe in reincarnation either as human beings or 
as monkeys. Nevertheless they kill and eat monkeys, though 
the canine and feline species and birds of prey are forbidden 
food to all. Certain families have in addition certain prohibitions, 
such as oribi, duiker, rats, etc., and they believe they would 
become very ill, or deaf, were they to break this tabu. One 
man averred that his grandmother was an elephant's daughter, 
and eventually resumed elephant's shape. 

Like the Vere they worship the sun, whom they call " Liyu," 
but the Vere priestcraft was a close guild and the Kugamma 
have lost their traditions. There is another spirit ' Sioki," who 
is feared, for he whom he touches dies within five davs. 

TRIBES. 247 


Mr. A. H. Groom. Mr. J. C. Walker. 

' Kukuruku " is a nickname given by the Filane to a group 
of pagan tribes located in the mountainous region of the southern 
part of the southern division of Kabba Province, who, with 
the exception of a small section of Igbira, are either of Edo, Bini 
or of Akoko extraction. It is said that they utter a cry resembling 
' Ku-ku-ruku " when flying to their rocky retreats. 

Their total population numbers some 38,000, of which those 
identified as Edo-Bini number 20,620, the Akoko between 6,000 
and 7,000, whilst the remainder have not been classified. 

The Ibie and Wona tribes lived in the neighbourhood of 
Edo (Benin, Southern Nigeria) until the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, when they moved northwards to escape 
the slave raids of the Edo king. They were, however, pursued 
and half the tribe returned, the other half settling in their present 
location. They say that the place was already occupied by a 
tribe whose houses were decorated within and without with 
human skulls, but that they attacked and almost exterminated 
this people, intermarrying, however, and living in peace with the 
survivors, who thus became absorbed with them. The name 
given to these aborigines was Ugbami. 

They continued to send gaisua annually to the King of Edo, 
including the skin of every leopard killed, and all light-coloured 
girls, a practice which was gradually abandoned, as they found 
the exaction was not backed with force. 

In course of time the Filane over-ran the district, and declared 
it part of the Nupe Kingdom, ordering each town to send a certain 
number of slaves to Bida yearly, and likewise exacted ' ujera " 
or death-duty on the estates of deceased Chiefs. If a slave 
proved himself trustworthy to his Filane masters, he was sent 
back to his own country and appointed see that the 
correct number of slaves and other taxes were paid, and, accom- 
panied by the son of the Chief, would take the same to Bida and 
return with presents of cloth, etc. 

A number of the more warlike townships refused to submit 
to the invaders, and some succeeded in maintaining independence, 
at a heavy cost of life, and to the utter desolation of their fertile 
valleys. The British Administration first entered the district 
in 1904 A. D., their immediate objective being the town of Semolika, 
where the people were reported to be offering human sacrifice 
and to be head-hunters. A series of expeditions followed, a 
political officer being first stationed at Iddo in 1911 A.D. 


The adult male community of each township is organised 
into a body called Otu, which is made up of various companies 
of men of about the same age. A boy is drafted into the junior 
company on attaining puberty, and has to clean village paths 
and carry out other communal business, such as acting carrier, 
until he has worked his way up to the senior company, at the 
age of fifty or sixty, when his duties are to look after the orishas 
(idol). If he is a man of means he pays a yearly fee all this while, 
that he may be promoted from the senior company of Otu to 
become a Chieftain, i.e., member of the Obu, whose duties are 
virtually those of town councillors, and whose privileges are 
the right to bear a title and immunity from arrest. A tall red 
fez is the badge of office, and the president carries a carved stick 
called Otsu. 

The Chieftainship of a town is hereditary to the royal family, 
and if it so chances that owing to the death of the senior members 
the office devolves upon a boy he is at once promoted from the 
Otu to the Obu rank, but would probably have little influence, 
and be under the guidance of the Obu. 

It was the custom for the village Chief to adjudicate all 
petty cases by himself, and the successful litigant paid to him 
10 per cent, of the award. In important cases the Chief summoned 
the Obu and a further fee of 10 per cent was divided amongst 

The Upila tribe lived near Sapele, in Southern Nigeria, but 
in the beginning of the eighteenth century trekked northward 
in search of fresh hunting country. They came to their present 
location on Iddo Hill, where they settled, their principal towns 
being Kominio and Iddo. They have a settlement at Afogania, 
which was allied with the Igbira settlement at Soso until a Nupe 
raid divided them early in the nineteenth century. 

The Upila had held a council meeting to d'scuss whether 
or not they should offer resistance to the Filane, a point on 
which they failed to come to an agreement. The townsfolk 
of Edeku were for peace, but those of Aguti fought with more 
or less success, carrying on their resistance to very recent years, 
and they still look with contempt on their pusillanimous kinsfolk. 

The Onemi are a small tribe who inhabit a district between 
Lagos and Benin, which they left early in the eighteenth century 
to escape the slave-raids of the King of Edo. They joined with 
another tribe, probably the Upila, and crossed the Niger. They 
lived on roots and by hunting, but lost so many men probably 
at. the hands of the original inhabitants, who, however, assured 
them that wild beasts were their depredators that they crossed 
the river again, but were driven out by the Filane and finally, 
on the advent of the British, a section of the tribe crossed the 
river once more and settled in South Kabba. The tribe is, 
therefore, still divided. 

TRIBES. 249 

The Jattu are in the extreme south of the Province, one-third 
of the tribe being situated in Northern Nigeria, two-thirds in 
Southern Nigeria. The paramount tribal Chief lives in Kabba, 
but his successor resides over the boundary, and the division 
results in a good deal of quarrelling and consequent lack of 

The Sibi, who are also of the Edo group, occupy four villages 
in the Kabba Division, but the majority of the tribe are situated 
in Southern Nigeria. 

These tribes speak dialects of the same language, whilst the 
other groups, comprising the following townships: 

(1) Gori, Megongo, and Bokuma; 

(2) Semolika, Mekeke and Oja; 

(3) and the Akoko are unintelligible to each other. 

The Igara, so called after their principal town, number some 
1,120, and the Soso (another town, established before the nine- 
teenth century), are of Igbira stock, who migrated from Ida. 

They also speak a dialect of their own. 

The Kukuruku are pagans, but Muhammadanism is now rapidly 
penetrating amongst them. They believe in a soul and after 
life, but not in the resurrection of the body. Thus they confess 
certain sins to old women; others, in the secrecy of the bush, to 
sticks given them by the old women, that they may be freed from 
punishment in the next world, for they believe that if they do 
not live worthily the souls of the departed good will refuse to 
receive them. The foundation of their rites, orishas (idols) 
and sacrifices, are all with a view to the welfare of the dead. 

Crops are raised only for tribal consumption. The Igara 
practise riverain pursuits, and in Soso and Afogania a regular 
trade is carried on in weaving mats of very fine grass. A rough 
cloth is woven by the women, who dye it in two colours, indigo 
and brown from camwood. There are no dye-pits, the process 
being carried on in pots. A pattern is made by tying up tightly 
portions of the cloth which, when immersed in the pot, thus 
escape contact with the dye. A rough open-work pattern is 
sometimes made by drawing and tying several threads at uni- 
form intervals. 

Wood carving is practised, doors being made from the silk 
cotton tree, on which the carving is usually of unclothed human 
figures; also carved sticks, which are habitually carried by the 

Many villages had their own smithy furnaces, but these have 
been abandoned owing to the easy importation of iron. 

The villages were situated on the hill-tops, and were practically 
impregnable, as the smooth, steep rocks were rendered still more 
slippery in time of danger by palm-oil being poured over them, 
and the towns were ringed with one, two, or even three lines 

2 50 


of walls one within the other. They have, however, recently 
moved down to the plains. 

Stone sanghars were erected, through which holes were 
pierced to admit dane-guns. Pits were dug, and poisoned pegs 
of sharp wood placed at the bottom. 

Ambushes were laid, and the weapons used were bows and 
poisoned arrows, now giving place, especially amongst the Ibie 
and Upila, to dane-guns, poisoned slugs being used in the flint 

It is the ambition of every youth to possess a gun, and, 
when that aim is gratified, a wife. 

There are three forms of marriage. ' Enabo," ' Amoiya," 
and ' Isomi." 'Enabo" signifies " one who runs away," and 
is a relic of the old system of rape. , The woman is the absolute 
property of her husband and her children succeed him. If her 
deceased husband's brothers don't wish to marry her, the widow 
is then free to return to her own people. ' Enabo ' is dying 

' Amoiya " is when a father, who first consults a soothsayer, 
sells his daughter for a sum varying between 5 and 10. All 
connection with her own people is then severed, and her children 
become the purchaser's absolute property and on his death 
pass to his heirs. The children succeed him, even when, as 
sometimes happens, he has himself proved impotent and has 
lent his wife to some relative. 

' Isomi ' is when the suitor obtains the consent of the 
father of his bride-elect when she is some five or six years old. 
The suitor gives a small sum at once, which is repeated after 
three months. He also contributes twenty yams each year, and 
works on his future father-in-law's farm, in return for which 
he is given his food. When the girl is of marriageable age the 
groom gives a dowry of from i to 5 to her father, and her family 
escort her to his house. Unmarried girls go naked, but the 
groom now presents his bride with a small locally-woven loin- 
cloth. If she refuses it the marriage is broken off, but generally 
she completes the ceremony by placing the cloth across her 
loins and tying it on the right side. She has the right to leave 
her husband, either by returning the dowry or by giving him 
one or more of their offspring. Otherwise her children belong 
to her family, and inherit only from them, returning to them 
(together with their mother if she be still alive) on the death 
of their father. A son is, however, permitted to remain in his 
father's family if he wishes to do so, when he becomes his father's 
not his mother's inheritor. A payment may be mutually 
arranged between the families, whereby the father keeps one 
or more of his children. 

Concubinage is recognised, but is of rare occurrence. 

TRIBES. 251 

Amongst the Ibie and Wona should a . woman remove her 
marriage-cloth and, leaving it on her husband's sleeping mat, 
appear naked in the town, or should she remove the cloth in 
the presence of others and turn her buttocks on her husband, 
he is forced to divorce her, and cannot demand either dower 
or a child. She, however, would not find it easy to get another 
husband, lest he also might be thus ridiculed. 

' Isomi ' is sub-divided by the Upila into the marriage 
of a virgin, which is called ' Ateme," and that of a widow, 
or woman who has left her first husband, which is called " Omo- 
ishi." No man is permitted to have a greater number of wives 
than the Chief. 

The Igara and Soso practise Igbira customs. Marriage takes 
place before a girl reaches the age of puberty. 

If a husband suspects his wife of adultery she is taken before 
a diviner and made to kneel down with her hands tied behind 
her back. She is then made to place her head within a noose 
which is fixed to the ground ; if she can withdraw she is declared 
' innocent," but if the noose tightens, she is left tied up until 
she reveals the name of her coadjutor. 

In Soso the guilty woman is fined one cock, one goat, and 
one dog, whilst the co-respondent pays 2 los. in cowries. 

On the death of an Ibie or Wona chief his son announces it 
to the head-men, and beats a long drum that it may be known 
to all. The women do likewise. Burial takes place the same 
day in the compound of the deceased. The body is wrapped 
in new cloths, it is placed on new cloths and is covered by them, 
and is then laid in a wooden coffin, shaped like a canoe, with 
a lid. An effigy of the deceased is made of cloth and sticks, and 
is first placed on the roof of the house and then carried round 
the town on the shoulders of two men to the sound of the drum, while 
the male population take their guns and conduct a mimic warfare. 
During the ceremonies the children cry that the dead man has 
come out, and a masked man drives them away with a thin wand. 
The effigy is then destroyed. Five days after the ceremonies 
are finished the family wash, and put black and white threads 
on their wrists. 

A woman's body is brought for burial to her own people's 

Infants under two years old are buried in the bush, also 
suicides, but while the Wona dig graves for the latter the Ibie 
and Upila do not. 

When an Upila Chief dies his sons, or nearest male relatives, 
carry the news of his demise to the neighbouring Kukuruku 
towns. In his own towns drums are sounded. The body is 
washed and robed in new gowns, and a white cap, symbol of 
Chieftainship, is placed on the head. A young man is buried 
the same day, but an old man is left for five days before the 


corpse is laid in a canoe-shaped coffin, fastened with a lid, on 
which new gowns, neck-beads, and kola nuts are laid. Meanwhile 
a heap of from ten thousand to twelve thousand cowries are 
collected in the compound, and sacrifices of cattle, sheep and 
fowls are made, dane-guns are fired, and a lot of drinking takes 
place. A hole has been dug outside the compound, and a tunnel 
is made connecting it with the centre of the room where the 
Chief used to live. A sacrifice of goats and fowls is offered at 
the threshold, over which the coffin is presently carried, and 
amid the chanting of dirges the burial is concluded. On the 
last day of the ceremony the sons, daughters, or nearest male 
relative, climb to the top of the house and throw down the 
cowries on which the sacrifice in the compound had been offered 
to the people below. A commoner is buried in the compound. 
On the fifth day after his death the widows, sons and daughters 
shave their heads and wash in the nearest stream. For three 
moons the former must remain indoors, and for another seven 
may not wear new cloths. 

After this time the deceased's full brother may marry the 
widows, in which case he proceeds to their compound, but 
must sacrifice a goat and a fowl on the road leading to it. Sons 
may not marry their own mothers, but may marry any other 
of their father's widows, vide " Enabo ' and " Amoiya." 

Amongst the Kukuruku generally it is recognised that a man 
must contribute a cloth or a goat to his father-in-law's burial. 

If an adult dies of some unknown cause and witchcraft is 
suspected, the body is tied to a pole, which is set up in the centre 
of a circle of people. The Chief makes tsafi and then allows 
the pole to fall, and whoever it strikes is under suspicion and is 
then forced to undergo the sasswood ordeal. The practice of 
drinking the poison in person has, however, almost died out, 
and the accused causes his dog to drink in his place. If it dies 
the owner is declared guilty of witchcraft and is chased from 
the town. 


The Kurama are situated in the southern division of Zaria 
Province, where they have a population of some 5,000. 

They were driven into the hills by the Ningi, but are gradually 
returning to their former sites. They grow corn and spin a 
fair quantity of cotton, which they sell to Haussa traders. 

Both sexes speak Haussa well, though they have their own 
language in which the dialectical differences are slight. 

Those inhabiting more civilised regions are adopting Haussa 
dress, but the majority of the women wear nothing but a bunch 
of leaves before and behind. They dress their hair on a high 
central ridge and cover their heads with a cloth. 

TRIBES. 253 

They are pagans. 

The father of a married woman may over-ride the authority 
of her husband, and on the death of her father this right passes 
to his heir, who thus becomes her guardian. 


The home of the Kurtawa is in Sansanni Hausa, (Sayi, in 
French territory) ; but in 1901 small settlements came to Moriki, 
Maradu and Dakingari in Sokoto, 600 (?) in all and to Zaria. 

They are often spoken of by the Haussa as Liptawa, but are 
in reality distinct. 

They speak Filanchi, Zabermanchi and Haussa. 


The Kutumbawa claim to be of Kororofa descent and to have 
come from Kanum, near Tubawu, in the east of Bornu. 

A small number, 705, have settled in Bauchi Emirate, whilst 
others inhabit Kano and Gumel Emirates. 

It is said of these that they are descendants of Kutumbi 
who was Sarkin Kano from 1623-1648 A. D. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. J. Finch. 

The Kwoll or Irrigwe pagans live in the neighbourhood of 
the Kibyen plateau (Bukuru Division), in the south-west corner 
of Bauchi Province, whence a number of them migrated about 
the year 1830-1840, to the north-west corner of Muri Province, 
Ibi Division, where they now have a population of some 7,176. 
Those in Bauchi are in two groups, Kwoll and Maiungwa, 
where the population numbers some 8,100. It has been asserted 
that they are an offshoot of the Hill-Jarawa, having migrated 
from their habitat of Fobura in the early part of the nineteenth 
century. Some settled at Jos on the way, whilst others came 
on to Kwoll and settled there amongst the Chawai pagans, with 
whom they intermarried. 

The towns are very strong, being situated on precipitous 
plateaux some 1,500 feet in height, to which the only compara- 
tive^ easy approach is from the east. That of Kwoll looks down 
a sheer descent of 2,000 feet to the Zar a plain below. Each 
compound and town is surrounded by a thick cactus hedge, 
which grows to a height of some fifteen feet. 


The Kwoll are essentially horsemen, and rely on the charge 
of their mounted spearmen, though they have bowmen also 
and use poisoned arrows. They are great raiders and ride 
bare-backed and without stirrups, the bridle consisting of a 
band round the nose to which a rope is attached on one side 

The natives themselves go naked with the exception of a 
loincloth, and, in the case of Chiefs an iron grieve on the leg, 
in the case of commoners a gaiter of thick grass, neither of 
which can be removed unless they are sawn or cut open. 

They use the duo-decimal system, twelve being the multiple.* 

The Kwolla in Muri. maintained their independence from the 
Filane, but have recently followed the Ankwe Namu, at all 
events nominally. Their local Government consists of the tribal 
Chief Longchim of Chim section head-men, town head-men, 
and village head-men. They were first controlled and assessed 
by the British in 1909, when the tax was paid in kind, cash being 
first collected in 1911-1912. 

Each compound contains several grain stores, a kitchei 
and store huts, besides the ordinary huts, which are some five 
feet in diameter and are all enclosed beneath one large roof ; 
a different form to that of the main stock in Bauchi, who use 
the usual type of single round huts with thatched roofs. 




Vide Kibyen, Mada, Mama, Ninzam, Nungu. 


Laka or Lakka have their headquarters in the Kamerun, 
where they are a hill tribe. A certain number were captured 
by the Filane of Yola, where their descendants still occupy the 
position of serfs. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. G. W. Webster. 

Lala is a nickname, meaning both " naked " and " an old 
calabash broken into many parts," applied to a group of tribes 
inhabiting the north-west of Yola Province, from the left bank 
of the River Hawal to Song in the centre of the Province. A 
section, the Yungur, are in the independent Kanakuru District, 
but the majority are in the pagan division of Yola Emirate, paying 
allegiance to the Emir through the Lamido Song. These are 
divided into two groups, the Gaanda under the Galhona of Gaanda, 
and the Dingai, M'boyi, Robba, Gabun and Gworum, with the 
sub-sections of Yan, Tenna and Shere, under Isa of Robba. 

The Yungur are treated of under a separate heading, but so 
little has been notified of the Emirate Lala as units that, except 
where individually mentioned, the following remarks must be 
considered as applicable to the group generally. 

They were subjected to raids by the Filane, but were always 
successful in repelling them. The Gaanda, however, recently 
became friendly with the Filane Chief of Song, and asked the 
British to put them under him as a gate to the world. 

The Gaanda came from Gasi on the Gongola and it has been 
suggested that they are an offshoot of the Jera (Kanakuru group). 
They claim to have come from the west, and the little copper 
figures found in their possession resemble Ashanti work ; the tribe 
do not now work in copper or brass. 

The Gabun came from the north and are possibly connected 
with the Bura. 

The Dingai, Robba and M'boyi, who claim close connection 
with the Yungur, are indigenous to Jaram'boyi (Song). 

There are no details as to the Gworum, beyond a suggestion 
that they do not share in the religious worship of the rest of the 
group. Possibly they have some connection with Gorom in 
Muri Province (Dimmuk) . 


Each section speaks a distinct language or dialect, but they 
have a lingua franca for the whole group, and unite in time of 
war under the strongest leader. 

Bows and arrows (which are poisoned with acrocanthera) , 
spears, short heavy swords and light axes are the tribal weapons; 
the women, who are more truculent than the men, leave 
their villages if the men refuse to fight. 

Blood vengeance devolved on the family, not on the tribe. 

The villages are commonly situated at the foot of the hills, 
amongst rocks, the M'boyi having only recently descended from 
the hill of M'boyi, an extinct volcano, on which they used to live. 

The huts are made of mud or zana matting, and are some six 
to ten feet in diameter, with conical grass roofs. There are low 
mud platforms inside, in which are clay cup-shaped depressions, 
where pepper, etc., is stored. 

Each compound contains a certain number of egg-shaped 
bins of grass, coated inside and out with mud, and is enclosed by 
mats, or more commonly by powerful cactus hedges. 

There are a number of caves on the hill-side, whither the Lala 
retire in time of need. 

The land is communal, each village having well-defined boun- 
daries, within which the elders apportion the land. 

The hunting lands are tribal, and game is killed in great con- 
certed drives. 

Porridge, seasoned with vegetable ash (often a certain water- 
lily) and herbs, is made from guinea-corn, whilst large quanti- 
ties of millet are consumed as beer, the people being much addicted 
to drink. Tobacco is both chewed and smoked. 

A short-handled hoe with a pointed iron bar, and adze, smelted 
locally from iron-ore in the river beds, are the agricultural 
implements in common use. 

The Gaanda and Gabun have considerable wealth in cattle. 
They alone employ Filane herdsmen, whose wage consists of the 
milk. Elsewhere the cattle are never milked. The herds are 
trained to run away from clothed persons. 

A few horses, goats and fowls are also kept. 

Meat is seldom eaten, except at festivals. Hyenas and vultures 
are occasionallv consumed as medicine. 


The men are for the most part of a low stunted physique, 
the women being of a superior build. 

Formerly they went entirely naked, but now the men com- 
monly wrap a strip of cloth round their heads, cross it over the 
body, and fasten it round the waist like a shooting cape ; others 
wear a loin-cloth and cap. 

They carry long, narrow leather bags, which contain long 
knives, tobacco, and flint and steel to make fire ; a hard wooden 
drill on soft wood being only occasionally used. The young men 
plait their hair and ornament it with beads or bits of iron, while 

TRIBES. 257 

the elder men shave. Long beards, dressed in one or more plaits, 
are common, but may be cut off for use as necklets. 

The women used also to go naked, but now wear big bunches of 
leaves, of a size to form a seat behind. The older women shave, 
and all habitually carry a grass broom with which to dust them- 

A girl is usually betrothed from infancy, and one year before 
the marriage is consummated the suitor works on her parents' 
farm, and erects for her mother a hut with a very well-thatched 
ornamental roof of various designs in plaited straw, which is 
sometimes dyed black. The walls are of ornamental black, red 
and white zana mat. He may pay a further dower, or the 
marriage may be by exchange, i.e., a daughter of one house being 
given for a daughter of another house. 

When the wedding takes place the groom's father supersedes 
his son, unless the latter has the physical strength to prevent it, 
and acts as husband to the bride until she has twice conceived 
by him. On each of these occasions abortion is procured by 
means of a compression bandage round the lower part of the 
abdomen, but when she conceives a third time she is at liberty 
to go to her husband, who may insist on abortion being procured 
a third time or not as he pleases. 

The number of men is in excess of the number of women, and 
small colonies of bachelors live together. It is open to them, 
however, to steal a man's wife from him when he is of middle 
age, that is to say from forty to forty-five, always supposing 
that he is not sufficiently strong to beat the marauder, who is 
supposed to repay the marriage dower, though this is rarely done. 

Children belong to their father. 

The duties of the sexes are not defined, and women work on 
the farms, whilst men cook, and vice versa. 

Slaves might be found in most households, and are obtained 
(a) by purchase, (b) by capture (from foreign tribes only), (c) in 
lieu of debt. They were all treated as members of the family, 
and each had his own farm, stock and property. 

Their principal duty was to grind the corn and cook the 
food, which was always scrupulously divided with them, and 
they were seldom asked to do more work than their masters. 
The Lala never allowed a bound man to be taken through their 

Gaanda is the principal religious centre for the whole group, for 
it is there that the god Daha-Ta and his younger brother Daha- 
Nafshiya reside ; the former representing good, the latter evil. 
For that reason, they all, with perhaps the exception of Gworum > 
look up to the Chief of Gaanda and give him presents. The 



annual harvest festival is held at the Gaanda rock, when a 
sacrificial bull is driven up the sloping rock to a certain pool, 
where, if the offering is accepted, it falls dead with its head on 
the edge of the water. 

Various rites are performed by entirely naked votaries, who 
then return to an orgy of drinking, drumming and dancing, 
which lasts for several days. 

Small figures representing their original ancestors are kept. 
That already alluded to is of copper, with a hole in the centre of 
the stomach in which offerings of food and drink are placed. 

They are good dancers, both sexes commonly participating 
in a circular dance, where the movement is from west to east. 
There is a special war-dance. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. H. R. Palmer. 

The Lerewa are situated in the Emirates of Katagum and 
Dambam in the north-east of Kano Province, Shellem being the 
oldest town ; and in West Bornu. 

They are said to belong to the Tubu-Kanuri stock and came 
originally from the Chad basin ; here they were mixed up with 
the Shuwa. Thence they travelled to the eastern side of Fika, 
where they are said to have been talakawa to the Kanuri, and 
where some of them still remain. 

They speak either Shuwa or Kanuri, though with an 
admixture of the Keri-Keri tongue which is gradually dying out. 
They were pagans, but the majority have adopted Islam. 

They are a pastoral people. 


The Limorro are hill pagans, situated some twenty miles 
north of Naraguta in Bauchi Province. They were raided and 
partially conquered by the Filane, but either never submitted 
to their yoke or succeeded in fully re-establishing their inde- 

They are connected with the Jengre and Rukuba. 

The men wear loin-cloths and sometimes tobes. 

Some are cannibals. 

TRIBES. 259 


Major F. Edgar. Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Longuda inhabit a small area of country to the south- 
west of Yola Province, near a range of hills that forms the 
Bashamma boundary. Here they are in the independent pagan 
division, under the district-head Arnado Shellen, who has juris- 
diction over their neighbours, the Kanakuru and Yungur likewise. 
A section of Longuda are on the other side of the Yola boundary 
in Gombe. Their villages are mostly situated on the plains at 
the foot of the hills. 

The right of occupancy of farm lands may be obtained from 
the headman of the village. Besides farming the ordinary 
crops the Longuda obtain considerable wealth from their herds 
of cattle and goats. They are peculiar in poultry farming, in that 
the fowls are kept in pens and are fed with ants' eggs. They eat 
the hens' eggs. 

Women may eat fish and beef (oxen only) but are not allowed 
the flesh of sheep, goats, chickens, or of human beings. 

The men are cannibals and eat their own dead, besides mur- 
dering strangers for meat. 

They are a wild, timid people, who have the power of sum- 
moning death to their release, and have therefore never been 

Their weapons are bows and arrows, spears and slings, with 
which they have an effective range at a distance of from 250 to 
300 yards. 

Those who live on the river wear a loin cloth or fatare, but 
elsewhere they frequently go unclothed, or with strips of leather 
hanging from a waist-belt. 

Cloth is, however, a recognised form of currency, together 
with spools of cotton thread, cowries and corn ; the latter being 
extensively used for brewing beer, as the people are addicted to 
heavy drinking. 

It has been suggested that they are connected alike with their 
neighbours, the Waja, the Tangale, and the Yungur ; but they 
speak a distinct language. Isolated individuals only speak 



Mr. A. Campbell-Irons. 
Mr. J. F. Fitzpatrick. 
Lieut. D. Greig. 

Capt. A. S. Lawrance, 
Mr. H. F. Mathews. 
Lieut. J. N. Smith. 

The Mada tribe are situated in the centre of Nassarawa 
Province, in an independent district in the Lafia Division. 

They occupy some 235 square miles and have a population 
of 24,628. 

Mada is a Haussa cognomen which has been generally adopted 
by foreigners, but the real name of the tribe is Yidda. 

There are two big sub-tribes, the Mada Zube and Mada Tara- 
tara, or in local nomenclature Yidda-Karshana and Yidda Tatra. 

The Zube, or Karshana, file their front teeth to a point, and, 
with slight variations, have twelve cuts made from the centre 
of the forehead down each cheek, small cuts at the side of the 
mouth, and a broad cut over the nose. They used to live on the 
plains, before the Filane raids drove them to seek shelter on 
the hill-tops. 

The Taratara, or Tatra, break off the two front teeth. A 
broad arrow-mark composed of three cuts is made on each side 
of the eye and at the base of the nose on each cheek. These marks 
are made when the child is five years of age. They are different 
from those worn by any other tribe in the neighbourhood. 

The Mada in the western part of the district are distinguished 
by cicatrices cut close together in a pattern from the temples to 
the sides of the chin- there is often a vertical scar from the 
breast to the navel or a cut across the chest in addition. 

.These clans intermarry, the offspring always belonging to 
their father's sub-tribe. 

They speak a language of their own, but Nungu phrases are 
intermingled with it (and even Haussa), the Mada and Nungu 
tribes having intermarried. 

The Hill-Mada live on the tops of hills. Each compound, 
consisting of eight to twelve houses, is encircled by stone walls. 
The grain-bins are inside the houses, and though a passage runs 
round them they are accessible only through mud and grass caps 
in the roofs. 

TRIBES. 261 

The ground is farmed in ridges, which are banked up by 

The Plain-Mada build their towns in kurumis, or amongst 
oil-palm trees, of which they grow great numbers. 

Their farms include a few yam plots, which are always sur- 
rounded by stone walls. They keep flocks of goats and sheep, 
but these are used as a form of currency and for sacrifice, and 
are not eaten except in times of famine. A great deal of grain is 
cultivated, but it is largely used for drink, and the people 
frequently reduce themselves to a state of famine. They are 
excellent farmers and each villager helps the other, the owner 
of the farm providing beer for all the workers. 

The land is cleared alike by men and women, but reaping 
and planting are done only by men. 

There are some blacksmiths who make the hoes, and a little 
weaving is done, but cloth is not frequently worn. 

The ordinary dress for both sexes is a leather loin-cloth, 
though on occasions women wear a bigger cloth. Iron, brass, 
or string bangles are worn on the arms, below the knees and 
above the ankles, particularly by the male sex, the women pre- 
ferring beads. The chief men have theirs made of hippo hide 
or polished elephant's hoof. Antelope horns and beads are worn 
as charms, and bits of cane are placed in the ears. The head is 
shaved except for a small round patch. A girl's is completely 
shaven when she reaches puberty, though her hair is allowed to 
grow again afterwards. All the men grow beards in which cloth 
and metal are bound. 

The average Mada is of fine physique, the men averaging 
over five feet eight inches ; but in Tudu in the south they average 
nearly six feet with square shoulders and narrow hips. 

They are a warlike race and fight with very heavy spears made 
out of one piece of metal ; small axes; short swords, with a very 
broad blade ; bracelet-knives of the Munshi pattern ; and poisoned 
arrows, the heads being made of wood. These latter have a range 
of some hundred yards. The points, poisoned with the ground 
or boiled seeds of the Gurjia tree (Bombax buonapozense) are 
made to break off from the rush shafts. The poison is very 
deadly. The natives cut and suck the wound, and give guinea- 
corn and water, or an egg, to induce vomiting, but the wound 
generally proves fatal. 

When fully accoutred a warrior has some hundred arrows in 
his quiver. They carry heavy circular shields, four feet six inches 
in diameter, made of bush-cow hide. In preparation for defence 
against guns they dig deep circular pits on the road (which 
are not used at other times, even for game) and betake them- 
selves to the roofs of houses, whence they drop arrows, but they 
do not stand long under fire. On the approach of the enemy they 
fire damp leaves, then sound the drums small drums and a special 


tocsin drum which stands from five to seven feet off the groum 
and which, together with the war-horn , which is subsequently 
sounded and has a sharp note, is used for elaborate signalling. 
The women drive the live-stock into the kurumis. 

There is a good deal of fighting between the various Mada 
townships, the combatants often agreeing to a short truce that 
they may drink before resuming offensive action. 

They value the skulls of their enemies, and the plain, but 
not the hill-Mada are cannibals. In hunting the Mada drive the 
game into nets, and use traps for birds and vermin. 

A suitor presents his bride with beans, acha, corn, a goat 
and some cloths, and her parents with two or three goats, and in 
Azeni some iron, in addition to working on their farm. On the 
wedding-day, which takes place when the girl reaches marriage- 
able age, he gives a dog, which is eaten by the bride's family. 
If the girl proves sterile she is returned to her family and 'the 
dower is refunded. 

Women are in the minority and are prone to desert their 
husbands, who have no redress, though they may flick an arrow 
at any of the villagers of the place to which she has run. 

After the birth of a child a husband may not see his wife for 
three or four days. 

Boys are circumcised at the age of seven, girls at puberty. 

Burial takes place in the houses or compounds, big graves 
being made to contain ten men. 

Nothing is buried with the body. Great lamentation is made at 
the death of a young person, but festival is made at the death 
of the old, and a big dance held. In Azeni the headman provides 
the burial cloth. 

Succession is to the children, if grown up, otherwise to the 
brothers or male relations. 

A certain number of townships recognised Zembi, Sarkin 
Nunku, as their head, six others Sarkin Randa, but they acknow- 
ledged no one central authority. 

Each township has an hereditary chief, the succession going 
to the eldest male representative of the family. If it passes 
out of the direct line the Chief is selected from amongst the 
members of that family. 

He is assisted by a Council of Elders. 

A murderer has to pay a fine of two children, whom he must 
give to the bereaved family. At Azeni, however, he is tried 
before his fellow-townsmen and killed with knives. 

If a man commits rape he must pay the marriage dower 
which would have been given for the child. If adultery, he is 
fined a certain number of goats and chickens. 

Ordeal is only practised in a modified form, gwaska poison 
being given to a fowl. 

TRIBES. 263 

The Mada believe there is an all-powerful and good god, who 
lives in the sky, but that there is no after life. They sacrifice 
goats and chickens at their religious festivals, and hold big dances 
and drinking bouts on these occasions. There is a particular dress 
worn, also tsafi armlets. They believe in the evil eye. 

The numerical system is duodecimal.* Where the Haussa 
would say 20 less I or 2 for example, they say 24 less r or 2 as 
the case may be. The highest number given was 12 x 12 = 144. 


Mr. J. H. C. Elder. Captain J. ff. Hopkinson. 

The Maga are a small tribe, who are mainly situated in the 
Independent Tera District, Gujba Division, but some are in the 
Goneri District under the Shehu of Bornu. 

They are a fusion of Manga and Kanakuru. A hunter of the 
latter tribe (i.e. Dera or Jera) came from Shani, in Yola Province, 
with a small following and settled near the present site of Gulani, 
circ. 1605 A.D. Two hundred years later the then Chief moved 
a few miles and met with some Manga from north of the Yo 
River, who agreed to accept him as their Chief, and he called 
his following " Manga." He married the daughter of the reigning 
Chief of Biu, and thus preserved his people from the raids of the 
Babur tribe. 

His descendant was recently recognised as head of the Tera 
District, but he never had authority over any but his own people, 
and it has now been placed under Mai Ari of Biu. 

They are a pagan people. 

They are farmers and ov/n a considerable number of cattle 
and horses. 


Magorawa are notified from the Godabawa District of Sokoto 


The Maguzawa are a tribe of Haussawa, descendants of 
Maguji, one of eleven pagan chiefs who, each at the head of a 
large clan, were the original stock of Kano. Maguji is described 

* Compare Nungu, Ninzam, Kibyen, Numana, Kwoll. 


as the miner and smelter among them, and lived at the end o 
the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century. 

Between the years 1343-49 A.D., the Maguzawa left the City 
of Kano and settled in the country at Fongu (i.e., Santolo to 
Burku) ; but in 1385-90 Bugaya Sarkin Kano ordered them to 
leave the Rock of Fongu and scatter themselves throughout the 
country. In 1653 A.D., Mohamma Kukuna, Sarkin Kano, called 
the Maguzawa to Kano to salute him. " They remained twenty- 
one days, and played a game in which they beat each other's heads 

with iron The Sarki said, ' Next year come again and 

let all your men come with their hauyias (=hoes) on their 
shoulders. If you do so Zanku (addressing the chief) God willing, 
no Sarkin Kano will be driven out again.' *To this day they 
perform a hoe dance peculiar to their tribe. 

They are now dispersed through the provinces of Kano, 
Sokoto, Zaria, and Bauchi (where they number 6,510) and there 
are isolated members of the tribe further south. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Malabu inhabit a range of rocky hills six miles to the 
north of Billa Malabu on the Yola-Kamerun frontier, and are 
included in the independent Pagan administrative division of 
Yola Province. 

They came from the east some four or five generations ago. 

The present tribe is a fusion of Lakka (a Kamerun tribe) with 
the Jire (an offshoot of the Batta) and three septs of Batta, 
the Habaru, Diginte, and Angure, who occupied the eastern, 
central and western hills in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Vango Malabu the capital. The two latter joined against the 
former, but, after a period of fighting, amalgamated under one 
Chief, who was chosen alternately from the royal families of the 
two sections. 

Legal cases are judged by a council, who may have recourse to 
trial by ordeal, though this is only occasionally done. There 
are five recognised crimes : 

(1) Murder, which is punished by death or the payment of 

(2) Witchcraft, when the entire family of the guilty party 
is liable to be sold into slavery. 

(3) Rape, when the criminal receives a hundred lashes and 
must pay damages. 

* Kano Chronicle. 

TRIBES. 265 

(4) Seduction, when the offender pays damages if the girl is of 
tender years. If she is of marriageable age it is considered no 

(5) Theft. A thief is obliged to restore the stolen goods and 
sometimes receives a small punishment in addition. 

Perjury is practically unknown, for they believe that a false 
oath made on fetish would result in death within a month. Hence 
boundary disputes are settled by oath. The claimant of the land 
eats some earth from the disputed area saying " If this is not 
my earth may I not eat the fruits thereof and live." 

Land is vested in the heads of the original colonising families, 
each of whom has the right of distribution within his own sphere. 
These heads allot the land according to the needs of the applicants, 
marking the boundaries carefully with cairns. Land so granted 
belongs to the recipient and his heirs in perpetuity so long as 
it is farmed, but it may not be mortgaged, let, nor seized for 
debt, nor may a woman hold it. 

A man's property passes to his sons and daughters, failing 
them to his brothers ; whilst his widows pass to his brothers and 
failing them to his sons. A widow receives a " woman's share " 
(i.e., a third of that of a man) of any grain that may happen to 
be in the corn bin at the time of her husband's death. 

Slaves may hold property and slaves, but on death the suc- 
cession passes to their masters. 

The principal occupation is agriculture, but a little weaving 
is done, and pottery is made for local use. Some carved wooden 
figures and dolls are to be found, but these are mostly of old 

Hunting is accounted a regular craft, and the office of village 
hunter is hereditary. Any man can join the hunters' guild, 
however, on the payment of a small fee. He is taken into the bush 
and given a lesson in venery, after which a slight incision is made 
down the back of his left thumb and a decoction of bark is rubbed 
into it, for the double purpose of rendering him a good shot and 
of securing his safety from bush-devils. Bows and arrows are used 
against birds and small game, whilst bigger animals are trapped. 
Sometimes a weighted spear is suspended from a tree over a game 
track and is released by the animal disturbing a twig in passing. 
More commonly a small round pit is dug, eighteen inches deep 
and nine inches across, carefully concealed by earth on a rush mat. 
A strong rope noose is put round it, attached to a log of wood ; 
as the antelope steps into the hole the noose tightens round the 
fetlock and the log checks his escape. 

Baboon and wild boars are driven into nets made of creepers. 

Weapons used in warfare are bows with strophanthus-poisoned 
arrows, spears, and short two-edged swords. 

Young men wear their hair in a series of small plaits, orna- 
mented with blue beads, whilst the elder men shave their, heads 


but often plait their beards into a tail. They wear a leather loin- 
cloth, and a short sleeveless gown of coarse white native cloth, 
a cap to match, and on state occasions a pair of loose drawers. 
At festivals the above is discarded for a kilt of fibre, goatskin 
garters, and anklets of twisted brass wire with bells (heirlooms) 
or irregular shaped, hollow bosses of plaited palm-leaf half filled 
with hard seeds which rattle as the wearers dance. 

Some people tattoo for personal adornment, but there are no 
tribal marks. 

Girls shave their heads for the first time when they are about 
ten years old ; when their hair grows again it is plaited, like a 
young man's ; but a few years after marriage it is shaved off 
and never allowed to grow again. Girls wear strings of beads 
and necklaces of beads or horsehair, and anklets, which, after 
marriage are discarded, except for festive occasions. For dances 
they wear kilts of beads. A married woman habitually dresses 
in a short strip of coarse cloth. A month before marriage, which 
takes place one month after puberty, i.e., when a girl is about 
twelve years of age, the bride lives with an old woman ; she 
may wear no ornaments, nor may she dance with other girls. 
On her marriage-day she is washed and her person is smeared 
with powdered cam- wood. Her brass bracelets and anklets are 
returned to her, and she puts on all the clothes she can borrow, 
together with a bead kilt, red cap and turban. She spends that 
day in her parents' house, where drinking is carried on freely. 
At dusk she is carried to the bridegroom's house on the back of 
her best friend, escorted by other virgins. If the marriage is 
barren polyandry is lawful, but the offspring belong to the lawful 
husband. A woman can obtain divorce by repayment to her 
husband of the dower he gave for her. 

A man usually marries at the age of sixteen. 

He is first admitted to the full privileges of manhood after 
circumcision, that is to say, if he sustains the operation without 
flinching, if he winces he is publicly disgraced. The village priest 
and elders take the noviciates, boys of nine or ten years of age, 
out into the bush to undergo the ordeal when the first rains of 
the year fall. They are left in the bush to fend for themselves 
and thus prove their manhood, and they may not return until 
their wounds are healed. When they go back a feast is held ; they 
are given a cap and gown, may sit amongst the men on this and 
future ceremonial occasions, and for the first time get drunk. 

A great feast is 'held after the last crop has been gathered, 
when goats and fowls are sacrificed at the village tsafi place, 
followed by dancing and beer drinking. This closes a month of 
purification, when no one may get drunk, fight, or even plan a 
raid, talk big, or be either scolded or punished. 

There are three principal spirits : 

TRIBES. 267 

* (i) Giddi, a malignant god, who resides in a sacred spring 
on the summit of a high hill near Holma in the Kamerun. He 
is propitiated with libations of beer and blood, and the people 
beseech him to leave them, the common prayer being " Giddi, 
I repent, leave me." 

(2) Pua is the lord of heaven, a cool place where charity is 
returned a thousandfold. It is doubtful whether women can go 

(3) Jehako is the lord of hell, a hot place, where those who 
have struck or cursed their mothers, or otherwise done ill, will 
go for punishment. He jumps out at people and slaps their faces 
in the dark, or hits two men on the head, making them believe 
each that the other has assaulted him and thus engenders a 
quarrel. The prayer addressed to him is " Jehako keep away." 

If a man prays to Pua and Jehako he can return to earth 
after death, as a woman, or a buffalo, or some other animal. The 
belief in transmigration of souls is of recent importation from the 
Kilba tribe, as is ancestor worship. In times of peril the elders 
go to the burial ground to consult with the spirits of the dead. 

Every village and every person has a material object of 
worship, which is not merely a symbol. It often consists of a 
calabash of water obtained by the chief priest (who resides on 
that hill-top) from the water spilled by Giddi from the sacred 
spring, or of a stone from the same sacred hill, or perhaps of 
an animal's head. Sacrifices are made to and oaths are sworn 
on these objects. 



Mr. A. Campbell-Irons. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

Captain A. S. Lawrance. Captain H. L. Norton- Traill. 

The Mama occupy an independent district at the eastern base 
of the Murchison range, covering an area of 240 square miles. 
It is situated in the Lafia Division of Nassarawa Province, and 
adjoins the Bauchi boundary. 

The Mama number some 7,891 , and are divided into four clans : 
the Arum, Barrku, Burruza and Upie. 

The headman of Mungar (Upie'clan) is generally acknowledged 
to be the tribal chief. He can trace back to three generations 
of chiefs, the succession being to brothers, then sons. He is 
assisted by a council composed of the headmen of the other three 
clans (1914 A. D.). Each village has a headman in whom, and in 
the members of whose family, religious power is vested. 

* Compare Batta. 


They claim to be indigenous to their present location, and 
bear an apparent resemblance to the Bantu stock. 

They were subject to constant raids, but were never subdued 
until the advent of the British, who placed them under the juris- 
diction of the Emir of Lafia. This proved to be a purely nominal 
measure, and in 1914 they were declared an independent district. 

The clans speak a common language, but owing to division 
caused by constant feuds, divergences have arisen which make 
it hard for one to understand the dialect of another. 

They make use of the duodecimal numerical system.* 

They are an intelligent race and physically fine, but are said 
to have been cannibals. 

Both sexes go about absolutely naked, but decorate them- 
selves with beads, which are generally turquoise blue in colour. 
A fashionable ornament is a bead necklet with pendants. The 
lobes of the ears and cartilage of the nostrils are pierced and 
straws inserted, which may be as much as eighteen inches in 

The women carry their babies on their backs and use a skin, 
usually a monkey-skin, for the purpose, decorated with little 
bells and beads. On certain occasions women dye themselves 
red. Some married women wear a tiny fringed apron with beads 
depending from it, but this fashion is probably borrowed from 
the Nungu. 

Children are marked when they are nine years old, but the 
practice has been abandoned by some families. 

The Barrku, Burruza and Upie clans have common markings, 
i.e., cuts right round the forehead and cheeks to below the ear, 
and five cuts on either side of the lips ; these latter are sometimes 

The villages are either situated on hill-tops, with stone wall 
fortifications, or they are hidden away amongst groves of oil- 
palms. The houses are round and peculiarly high, having lofts 
which are accessible only from outside by means of ladders. The 
mud is a very bright red and both walls and doorways are orna- 
mented. There are no enclosed compounds, the huts being 
built very close to one another. There is a pointed stone in every 
township, round which both sexes dance, and sacred emblems, 
stones or skulls, are freely scattered throughout the village, as in 
the adjacent farms, to which offerings of blood and pito are made. 

The Tsafi-house is often in the midst of the dwellings, and is 
distinctive by the number of skulls of bush-cow and of oxen with 
which its outer walls are hung. Many of the heads are purchased 
from the neighbouring pagans on the Bauchi plateau, to whom 
payment of children is made, if possible children stolen from 
some other tribe, but if necessary their own. The skulls of 

* Vide Kwoll, Mada, Nungu, Burumawa, Ninzam. 

TRIBES. 269 

enemies are kept inside the temples. Women do not take part 
in the religious festivals , an antelope horn being blown to give them 
notice that they must remain in their houses. It is believed 
that barrenness would be the punishment for any infringement 
of this rule. On these occasions two men don carved wooden 
masks, with long horns, in representation of some animal, and 
fringes of dried grass depending therefrom effectually conceal 
the countenance of the wearer, who is thought to represent some 
person or thing long since dead. It seems probable that the 
Mama observe ancestor worship, as the skulls of deceased relatives 
are preserved in the compounds. 

The men breed stock : cattle, sheep, goats, and a small pony 
used for hunting, in which they excel. They ride bare-back, 
and make a natural saddle by slitting the skin on the back of 
the pony and laying back the flaps, which, of course, presently 

Their country is honeycombed with game-pits, which are dug 
in groups of two or three on narrow tracks to a depth of ten feet 
to twenty feet. They are some three feet six inches across and 
are concealed by light sticks, leaves, grass and earth. 

The land is prolific in oil-palm, shea-butter, locust-bean and 
rubber trees. A considerable quantity of guinea-corn is culti- 
vated, which is converted into pito, and so long as a bundle remains 
in the place the men and women and children are perpetually 

Brass and clay-headed pipes are smoked. 

Arms used are bows and wooden-tipped poisoned arrows. A 
heavy metal knife, the handle of which is shaped like a flattened 
ring, which fits round the hand and enables the wearer to draw 
his bow to the full extent.* Swords, which are generally of 
foreign construction. Light javelin spears, the metal-head being 
brought to a point and driven into the wooden shaft, which is 
strengthened at the neck by a metal ring to prevent splitting. 
Clubs with knobs, not unlike those used by the Zulus. 

Drums of every size are used, from the " gidi-gu," which is 
six feet or more in length to one with the circumference of a 
tea-cup. A different kind is peculiar to every dance ; and others 
are used to transmit messages. Other instruments are the horns 
of antelopes, to which gourds are often affixed ; whistles made 
of wood ; pan-pipes from reeds ; " Molo " or guitars, to the lower 
surface of which gourd cups are attached ; rattlesf made out 
of gourds shaped like water-bottles (Lagenaria vulgar is) and 
covered with a network of string, a little bfilet of hardwood being 
placed at each intersection of string. These rattles are used at 
ju-ju dances, when they are shaken to the accompaniment of beast- 

* Compare Munshi. 
| Similar in Mada. . 


like howls. At the same time iron rattles are worn on the legs* 
the prevailing form elsewhere being, rattles made from seed pods. 

Intermarriage between the clans and with neighbouring tribes 
is permitted, but it is expected that an interchange should be 
made, though a payment of so many goats is the nominal dower. 

If adultery is committed by two members of the same village 
they are whipped by the whole community, the woman by women 
the man by men. If, however, the woman runs away to some 
other village and is not returned to them, her relatives lie in wait 
to capture or kill any member of the township to which she has 

Murder is punishable on the basis of restitution. The bereaved 
family sends an emissary who bears, either a miniature bow and 
arrow, or stick (such as women carry to the farms) according to 
the sex of the murdered. 

He demands that an equivalent should be handed over to 
him, but the matter may be arranged by the payment of goats 
or cattle. A refusal to comply with the demand leads to a blood- 


A colony of Mandara migrated from their habitat in Adamawa 
and settled at the town of Gudu, north-west of Song, in Yola 
Emirate, at some period long prior to the Filane Jihad, where 
they now number some three hundred. They are devout Muham- 
madans and claim that the mark of Muhammad's foot is still 
imprinted on the hill when he stepped over from Mecca. The 
entire population read and write Arabic. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. P. A. Benton. 

Manga is a contraction of the name Madinga, but it has 
been universally adopted for seventy years. 

They were probably an indigenous race who were conquered 
by the Kanuri. Recently they suffered much from Rabeh's 
invasion, but took advantage of it to drive the Kanuri out from 
the Alanjurori district 1 (Geidam) where they had themselves been 
settled since circ. 1650 A.D. ; but in five years time the Kanuri 
returned. The Manga now intermarry with the Kanuri, but not 
with the Kanembu. 

* Also used by dancers of Sarkin Kaiama and Sarkin Borgu. 

TRIBES. 271 

They accepted British administration at once, but proved 
troublesome for a few years. They are under a district-head 
responsible to the Shehu, 

They are a tall, heavily framed and vigorous race, who were 
originally hunters, par excellence, they discovered salt and 
potash, which they now work, farm, fish, dye, weave and plait 

The majority of the tribe inhabit large territories north of 
Lake Chad and of the Yo River, but there are a few in the Emirates 
of Katagum, Hadeija and Gumel, and some 420 in Bauchi Emirate. 

They are of the Muhammadan religion. 


The Marawa are a small community of hill-pagans, inhabiting 
Bauchi Emirate in the north of the Province. 


Mr. H. B. Hermon-Hodge. Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 

The Marghi tribe, together with their offshoot, the Chibuk, 
occupy an area of 2,600 square miles in the extreme south-east 
of Bornu Province, and 1,050 square miles in the adjoining 
Districts of Marghi and Uba, in Yola Province their population 
being respectively 38,683 (including 3,238 Chibuk), and at a very 
rough assessment 5,000 ; the male slightly preponderating over 
the female sex in Uba District. 

Little is known of the origin or history of the Marghi, but 
Dr. Barth believes their language to be a dialect of Batta, and to 
approach, in certain principles, the South African group of lan- 
guages. In Bornu many of them speak Kanuri, and in Yola 
Filane, in addition to Marghi. They are probably of the same 
stock as the Kilba, though they have now lived apart for many 
ages. There is only a slight dialectical difference in their lan- 

The Marghi cannot remember a time when they were not in 
their present location. In the fifteenth century a Kanuri man 
came and settled in West Marghi (Bornu) and lived amongst them, 
presumably as their chief, for forty years, returning to his own 
people once every year for the big Salla. His successor was 
summoned away from Marghi to build a wall ; he declined to go 
and his Mai threatened to bury him alive. He gave himself up 


to this fate on condition that his people might remain indepen- 
dent. Many years later, however, there is a record of his successor 
complaining to the Shehu of the fatigues of his long annual 
journey to do homage at Kukawa, and permission was given to 
him to select a rest camp, which he did at Maifoni. In the mean- 
while, circ. 1570 or 80 A.D., rumours reached the Shehu that the 
land in East Marghi was very fruitful, so he sent a Kanuri, of 
the name of Zerma, to become chief thereof under his suzerainty. 

Guinea-corn is the staple crop of that district, whereas through- 
out Bornu it is millet. Sweet potatoes also are grown there and 
are rare throughout the rest of the division. 

They quarry iron-stone and carry on a considerable and 
ancient industry in smithying. A well-made hoe was given to their 
feudal chiefs each year by every smith ; and a piece of iron, of 
no great thickness, breadth or length, formed the currency in 
times before cowries were introduced and, to a less extent, up to the 
present day. In Uba District, however, no smelting is done. 
The Marghi also possessed a monopoly of that stone used for 
grind-stones. They are intelligent and hard workers and gather 
honey, weave, dye, and trade in addition to their farming and 
smithying occupations. 

Those in Bornu are probably more advanced than their 
brethren of Yola, who are reported to be great robbers. 

Those Marghi who are situated in Yola Province were old 
communities before the advent of the Filane. They owed allegi- 
ance to one of three powerful chiefs, i.e., the Arnado of Kilba, 
Arnado of Baza, or the Arnado of Uba (now Vango Uba). The 
former was probably the most important, for the Arnado of Uba, 
after collecting cloth, corn and goats as a gaisua from his people, 
went to Kilba and himself made gaisua to the Arnado Kilba. 

The duties of the Arnados were (a) to apportion uncultivated 
land amongst any of their people who desired land for farming 
purposes (the new occupant would usually make him a present 
from the first-fruits, but to do so was not compulsory) ; (b) to 
regulate disputes and punish crimes ; and (c) to preside over 
religious ceremonies. 

The following details come from Uba District : 

It was customary for a murderer to give the Arnado ten 
gowns, and to take two gowns, one turban, one cap, one goat, 
ten baskets of corn, and one girl to the grave of his victim, where 
the brother, or some other relative of the deceased, took possession 
of them. 

A thief paid a fine fixed by the Arnado approximating to 
the value of the goods stolen. 

An adulterer paid a fine of from two to five gowns to the 
Arnado. The husband, who recovered his wife, received no 

TRIBES. 273 

When the corn is one foot high the Arnado signifies that the 
annual festival of the god " Kovi "* is about to be held, and all 
the inhabitants of Vango Uba brew beer in preparation for it. 
Two days later people assemble, some coming great distances, 
even from the Kamerun. The Arnado places a white calabash, 
containing samples of all the different foods they hope to grow, 
at the foot of a small rough stone, the shrine of " Kovi," and 
prays for good rains and a plentiful harvest. The ceremony is 
followed by feasting and drinking, when many goats and much 
beer is consumed. It is noteworthy that no sacrifices are offered. 

Oath is made in the name of " Kovi," and any property left 
near his shrine is respected. 

Though the majority of the people are pagans, Muhamma- 
danism is spreading among them. 

The authority of the three Marghi Chiefs has lapsed and their 
kingdom has been incorporated in Yola Emirate, the third 
grade, and hereditary, Filane Chief Ardo Jibba, being their 
immediate chief. The Chief of Vango Uba retains his position 
as chief priest. 

The Bornu Marghi have retained their independence under 
Amadu Kogo, a native of West Marghi. 

There is ah itinerant native court which travels on circuit 
from Yajua to Dumboa and Mulgwe. It holds month-long 

The Marghi are very dark in colour and of good physique. 
The men wear aprons of tanned goat-skin, which are drawn 
between the legs and left to hang like a tail at the back ; of 
these there are many designs. They wear their hair in tiny 
greased plaits and hang heavy necklaces of blue and white beads 
round their necks. The young men wear round and square 
armlets, which are replaced by brass bracelets after they are 
married. Both sexes stick beads or grass into the lobes of their 
ears. Girls wear a heavily fringed girdle of wood, stone, glass 
or brass beads, which is usually replaced on marriage by one 
with iron hooks. A bunch of leaves sometimes completes the 
costume. They wear light iron, brass and grass armlets, anklets, 
and bracelets ; and in the chin (Bornu) a three-inch long piece 
of stick, or a small disc of wood, bone or metal. The more civilised 
are gradually abandoning their national dress for a short ogwn 
or fatare. 

The villages are built at the base of the hills; the huts are 
round in shape. In these hills are caves, where the inhabitants 
retreat 'in time of danger, and the warriors shoot with poisoned 
arrows from the shelter of the rocks. Bows and arrows and 
spears are always carried, in addition to a small knife. The 
Marghi fight both on foot and on horseback. 

* The Kilba worship an identical god under the name of " Dovi." 



Marriage is arranged when a girl is two months old. The 
suitor prefers his suit by offering her mother three or four mats ; 
if she accepts them the engagement is ratified and henceforth he 
brings a portion of any game he may kill. When the girl is 
seven years old he takes four chickens and two baskets of corn 
to her mother, and at the same time removes his bride to his 
compound, where he keeps her in strict seclusion for two months. 
She is then returned to her mother, together with one chicken 
and eight mats. When the child reaches marriageable age a 
feast is held at her mother's compound, to which the groom 
contributes two goats, two baskets of corn, two baskets of aya, 
and one basket of flour. She then goes to his compound, where he 
builds her a new hut, and the marriage ceremonies are concluded 
by his killing two goats and presenting one to her mother, and the 
other to her uncles and aunts. 

Should a child be born to them before the ceremonies are 
complete, abortion is procured lest they should never have another 
infant. A girl may refuse her suitor, and divorce is recognised. 

When a death occurred beer was immediately brewed and 
drunk. The next day people assembled to dance and shoot, to 
the accompaniment of drumming. Burial took place in the 
evening of that day. If the deceased were a rich man he was 
dressed in trousers and one or two gowns, if a poor man his jaw 
was merely tied with a white cloth. . At sunset the corpse was 
laid on its left side, straight out, with the left hand under the 
left ear, and facing to the west, in a grave three feet deep, the 
entrance to which is through an aperture in the middle. The 
festival was celebrated throughout the following day also, and 
after the interval of a week, beer was laid on the grave, and the 
ceremony was complete. 

MASH mo. 

AUTHORITY : Major F. Edgar. 

The town of Mashido is situated in a fertile valley in the 
Duguri District. It has a population of some 233, the majority 
of the inhabitants having migrated to Geriyal. 

They wear Jarawa tribal markings. 



Mr. H. Ryan. Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 

Mr. G. W. Webster. 

It is doubtful whether theM'Bula are an off-shoot of theBatta 
(of the Jire or Diginti section), or whether they are a branch of 

TRIBES. 275 

Mundong who, owing to famine, left their country in the vicinity 
of Lere and descended the Benue, circ. 1837 A -D., settling under 
their Chief " Bulla," at Hosere Malabu, Yola Province, in the 
district now bearing their name, and acknowledging the suze- 
rainty of the Bashamma. 

They are an independent and industrious race, their occupa- 
tions being the usual riverain trades, hunting and farming. 

In clearing the ground for a new farm a man receives the 
assistance of his friends. He then sows seeds amongst the grass, 
which he subsequently cuts down and leaves as manure. When 
the crop is one foot high he clears the ground, but leaves the 
rubbish as manure. No rotation of crops is practised. Men and 
women each cultivate and own separate crops. Tobacco is 
largely grown. 

Fowls, dogs, rats and snakes are all eaten. 

A couple of the same name, or of the same family, may not 
marry, nor is a. lunatic permitted to wed. An accepted suitor 
works on his future father-in-law's farm in the wet season, and 
repairs his mother-in-law's house in the dry season. When his 
fiancee reaches marriageable age he lives with her at her parent's 
compound, but when the next wet season comes he brings her 
guinea-corn from which she brews pito. She takes it to his farm 
where all the villagers assemble to drink it, and his friends prevent 
her returning to her parents. 

Women cannot be divorced, but they are occasionally known 
to leave their husbands. 

Circumcision is not practised. 

Abortion may be procured by drugs. 

A corpse is washed and kneaded to prevent rigor mortis. 
It is buried in the house at a depth of 2\ feet, the approach being 
through a tunnel from outside, which entrance is subsequently 
closed. Women are buried with their parents. 

Widows shave and wear white loin-cloths and threads round 
their necks and arms. 

Inheritance is to the sister, who is sole heiress ; failing her, 
the uncles and aunts on the mother's side inherit, failing them 
their children. This is opposed to the Batta and Bashamma 
custom, where the wife and eldest son inherit ; but, on the other 
hand, the M'Bula have many similar customs. They speak the 
same language, or a dialect thereof ; and they worship the same 
gods attending the same festivals (vide Batta) . 

The common dress for both sexes is a loin-cloth, or short fatare, 
of special pattern, with a blue or white stripe round the border. 
They wear bracelets of iron and brass on the wrists and plaited 
grass round the ankles. 



The regular arms are bows and arrows. 
The M'Bula have their own Chief, who has recently been 
supported by a Council. 

The population number some seven thousand. 


The Mufons, or Medong Mufons, are hill-pagans, situated in 
Bauchi Province. 

They were conquered by the Filane, but subsequentl 
regained their independence. 

Their weapons are spears, axes, clubs and bows and arrows. 
They carry shields, which are in themselves a declaration of war 

They are keen huntsmen and use dogs to run down game. 

They are cannibals. 



The Miawa inhabit Bauchi Emirate with a population of 1,610. 


The Minda inhabit the Jalingu native district of the Lau 
Division of Muri Province, where they have a population 
some three hundred. 

Thev are believed to be indigenous to that location. 



Mr. A. L. Auchinleck. 

Mr. J. B. I. Mackay. 

The Mirriam tribe are situated in the Ibi Division, in the 
north-west of Muri Province, where, together with the Larr 
clan and the Mikiet and Lardang, they number some 8,856. 

Though now incorporated the Mikiet and Lardang were 
formerly independent, and the Mikiet dialect differs from that 
of the Mirriam, but their customs, together with those of their 
neighbours, the Dimmuk and Kwoll, are similar ; and it mav 
well be that this group are of the same stock as the Angas * 
Ankwe, Montol, Sura. They all ride barebacked, and worship 

* Vide Angas, p. 9. 

TRIBES. 277 

the god Nan. It is believed that they migrated to their present 

location, circ. 1830 40 A.D., to escape from Filane pressure. 

The following notes have been made about the Mirriam 
proper, who first came under British administration in 1909 A. D. 

The Sarkin Mirriam, Decham of Kwong, is advised by four 
section Chiefs. Ultimate appeal may be made to him in cases 
of dispute, but he does not possess much influence in outlying 

The houses are made of mud with thatched roofs. The Mikiet 
sometimes erect two or three thatches, one on the top of the 
other, raised on two to three inch high log-bands of grass. Grain 
stores surround the house, raised to a sufficient height to allow 
of sheep or fowls being kept beneath them. 

Dogs are kept as house guards and for hunting purposes, but 
they are also an article of diet. Sheep, some horses, and a few 
Montol cattle are kept. The latter are never milked. 

Many industries are practised as well as agriculture ; charcoal- 
burning, iron-smelting, pot-making, weaving and leather- working. 
A red dye obtained from guinea-corn is much used for staining 

The men wear a strip of leather or cloth round their loins, 
and a sheep or goatskin suspended from the waist, but a single 
cloth is occasionally worn instead. 

Women clothe themselves in the bleached fronds of the Fan- 
palm. They wind a strip about an inch broad round the waist 
and pass another between the legs. 

Girls wear three-inch strips of palm-frond as anklets, and for 
full-dress bind more palm round their upper arms, chests and 
foreheads. They insert guinea-corn stalks, up to one and a 
quarter inches in diameter, in their ears, and occasionally wear 
red flowers in their hair, above the ear. 

There is no long courtship, nor is any dowry given. The 
suitor makes known his intentions by sending the girl a present 
of a cooked chicken, through her sister or some other female 
friend of hers. A little later the suitor sends her a large calabash 
of salt, and if this is accepted, he goes with his ambassadress on 
the fourth succeeding clay to the girl's parents and gives them 
a chicken and some salt. The bride returns with him to his 
house, and four days later the young couple make beer and invite 
their neighbours to come and dance. 

Men first marry when they are nineteen or twenty, girls 
between the ages of fifteen and twenty. 

A woman is at perfect liberty to leave her husband, but 
adultery is severely punished by flogging and a fine of four fowls. 

A woman may not give birth to a child within the house. 
After the first child is born to her the husband sends a goat to 
his wife's father. 




Boys are circumcised two years before they attain the age 
of puberty. 

When a death occurs women wail and men beat drums. The 
corpse is wrapped in a black cloth and buried in a shallow grave, 
a few yards from the house at the edge of the compound. It 
runs east and west, and a man is laid with his face to the north, 
a woman with hers to the south. 

Offerings are placed on the grave for a week or two afterwards, 
during which time it is sheltered by a small thatched roof. 

Widows remarry immediately. 

A woman cannot inherit a right of occupancy to land. 

The Mirriam worship one supreme god, Nan, besides 
deities. They believe in witchcraft. 


AUTHORITY: Mr. J. B. I. Mackay. 

The Montol occupy an area of about 156 square miles to the 
extreme north of Muri Province, on the borders of Bauchi Pro- 
vince, where their population is some 9,070. 

Their country is undulating, intersected by small streams, 
and well wooded. 

The shea-tree is found in the southern part of the district. 
The ground is poor, but the ordinary crops are raised and ground- 
nuts are used as a form of currency. 

In the north-west of this locality, just south of the Murchison 
range, is a trachyte pillar, named Mata Fada, which is venerated 
both by the Montol and Ankwe. It is the burying ground of the 
Chiefs, and they say that they have always lived round its base. 

The Montol are closely allied with the Angas, Ankwe, Sura, 
and Yergum, their language being similar, though with great 
dialectical differences. But very few individuals have acquired 
a knowledge of Haussa 

At the time of the Jihad they were invaded by the Filane, 
but successfully repelled their onslaught. 

They were united under the rule of one chief, who gave orders 
through two sub-chiefs to the village heads, each township being, 
however, more or less independent of the other, and frequently 
engaging in internecine warfare. 

They have recently (1914) been consolidated under the Sarkin 
Ankwe, Dan Tshendam. 

The women wear bunches of leaves and the men skins, or one 
cloth hanging from the shoulder. 

The tribal mark is similar to that of some of the Angas, 
i.e., a stripe down each side of the face, which starts from above 
the temple and ends short of the chin. 

TRIBES. 279 

No trade is practised except, to a small extent, smithying. 

' Nan* " is the supreme god, and the Montol make intercession 
to him through the souls of their ancestors, calling on each one 
by name on the occasion of the yearly festival, when the skulls 
are taken from the vaults. 

' Kim "f is the god of war and eats the men of other tribes 
whom the Montol kill in war. There is an effigy of him in every 
township and a particular grove is sacred to him, where a sacrifice 
of goat , sheep or fowl is made to him on the leaves of the ' ' Kainye ' ' 
tree (ebony) before any raid is undertaken. A branch of this 
tree is sent to the enemy as a declaration of war. 

" Bom " is the god of fertility and justice. The wild custard 
apple is used in making sacrifice to him. There are two effigies 
to him in the district. 

' Fwam," ' Ya " and " Shie," gods of the compound, farm, 
and corn-bins, have their effigies in every household, and there 
are many sacred groves throughout the country. 



Mr. D. Cator. Mr, H. F. Mathews. 

Mr. Y. Kirkpatrick. Major Tremearne. 

The Moroa occupy the hill district to the north-west of Nassa- 
rawa Province, near the borders of Bauchi and Zaria Provinces. 
They number some five thousand, including five Attakka villages. 
There are rather more men than women. 

It is from Zaria that they claim their origin, their ancestors 
having left it some time previously to the Filane Jihad ; but 
it is probable that they were but a section of a large group which 
migrated from the north-west eastwards, of which the Attakka, 
Kagoro, Kaje and Katab are members. At all events the lan- 
guage which they speak is akin to that of the Attakka and Kagoro 
a certain percentage of the tribe are also Haussa speakers. 
Their religionj also is reported to be identical, as are their dressj 
and tribal marks. J Having paid tribute to the Habe Chiefs of 
Zaria they continued to pay to the Filane at Zaria, and their 
Chief was duly recognised as Sarkin Moroa. Though spared Filane 
raids they were attacked by the Gannawarri and forced to beat 
a temporary retreat amongst the Katab, who, however, took 
advantage of their weakness, and the greater number came to 
terms with the Gannawarri and returned to their old habitat. 

* Angas, Yergum, Sura. 

f Angas. 

J Vide Kagoro. 


The Moroa are slim and well built. 

They are good agriculturists and cultivate the usual crops 
(with the exception of rice, cotton and onions), and know the 
use of manure. They make a large proportion of the grain into 
beer, and would starve in the wet season were it not for the women's 
bean farms. The land is fruitful. They keep a fair number of 
horses (over two hundred) which they ride in a similar manner 
to the Bauchi hill-pagans, i.e., either with goat skin saddles 
or barebacked. They sometimes make a cut a foot long on the 
pony's back and open out the skin ; the flesh swells and forms 
a pad, presently becoming callous. No bit is used, a half hoop 
of iron behind the jaw, and another over the nose, serving instead, 
and they ride with only one rein. Bells are attached to the 
manes and tails. 

Their compounds are composed of clusters of round huts, 
built of mud with thatched roofs. 

A boy is named by his father, and circumcision is an ancient 
practice amongst them. Twins are considered lucky and the 
parents give a feast (at which two goats are devoured) to all the 
relatives, a little while after the birth. 

The women of the house name all infants on the day of their 
birth. It is customary to give the child the name of any stranger 
who may happen to be staying in the compound at the time. 
Children are suckled sometimes for five years. The mother will 
suckle an idiotic or deformed infant for some time, but if it does 
not recover she goes away, and the father treats it with various 
medicines till it is about ten years of age. If he has failed to 
effect a cure he calls in an Attakka or Kagoro priest, who throws 
it into the Kaduna River. The father hides meanwhile lest 
the child should turn into a pillar of flame and consume him. The 
mother may then return, but not before, lest she should conceive 
another abnormal child. 

A girl is betrothed to the first Moroa suitor from a neighbouring 
village who binds two cowries round her wrist immediately after 
her birth. When the girl is seven or eight years old he gives her 
parents one he-goat, two she-goats, ios., and two thousand 
cowries ; after which his boy relatives capture the bride and 
carry her to his house. Later on her mother sends a present of 
food, and the groom makes a return present of a goat. A woman 
may desert her husband, in which case the dower money is 
returned to him by his supplant er ; but he may claim the children, 
and their mother's parents may be tied up until she consents to 
part with them. 

For burial customs, see Kagoro, the only difference 
being in the case of a Chief, when a big feast is held, 
which ordinarily lasts for seven days. The son and heir 
must, on pain of being haunted by his father's ghost, 
provide a mare, which is led round by a dressed-up laughing 

TRIBES. 281 

woman during the week's festivities, and is subsequently sold ; 
if it were not sold the woman would die. Some of the Moroa 
practise burial customs identical to those of the Jaba,* the second 
ceremony lasting twenty days, the last twelve of which are spent 
in drinking. This ended, the widows are free to remarry. 

The estate is divided amongst the sons, the eldest getting the 
larger part. The younger brothers have, however, first choice of 
the widows. 

The ordinary form of oath is for a man to hold corn or ashes 
in his hand and pray either that he may be killed by the next 
corn he eats, or that he may become as white as ashes if he is not 
speaking the truth. 

When they enter into a treaty of peace a female goat is sacri- 
ficed. It is divided cross- wise while still alive, and eaten by the 
contracting parties. The hinder part is given to the attacking 
force, but both sides mix together while eating the flesh. A 
broom is constructed by the suers for peace and this is handed 
to the principal opponent, who holds it and swears that it shall 
sweep out all evil-doers. 

The district-head is the hereditary Chief, Sarkin Moroa, 

By tribal law a murderer was deported to Zaria. where he 
was sold as a slave. 

A thief was imprisoned until he paid a horse to the village-head. 



Mr. E. J. Arnett. Mr. H. F. Backwell. 

The Moshawa are situated in Sokoto Province ; their principal 
town being Wagadugu. 

Their tribal marks consist of three big lines on either cheek from 
forehead to chin, and a shatani or long deep scar on the cheek on 
each side of the nose. 

They are pagans and speak no Haussa. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Mumbake are an offshoot of the Vere. They have a 
tradition that they came from the north-east and held tracts of 
land as far as the Gijaro Hill. 

* Vide p. 164. 


They are now located on the west bank of the Maio Belw? 
and on the Mumbake Hill, in Yola Province. 

They once owned the suzerainty of the Batta, and each suc- 
cessive Chief went to Demsa to receive confirmation from the 
Sarkin Batta. When the Batta fled from that region before 
the Filane the Mumbake automatically ceased their allegiance 
and entered into friendly relations with the Filane, and are now 
included in the Emirate. 

They are divided into three sub-sections the Mumbake, 
the Yofo, and the Satei all of whom acknowledge the supremacy 
of the Sarkin Mumbake. The Chief was always a member of the 
royal family, the succession passing first to brothers, then sons, 
then nephews ; the individual being elected by plebiscite. His 
functions were those of priest at religious ceremonies, director 
of big game drives, and brewer of beer at feasts. He only occa- 
sionally sat with the Elders in council, their principal duty being 
to settle land disputes and occasionally, though rarely, to inter- 
vene in matters of justice. 

Murder was unknown. In practice the owner was left to 
recapture goods stolen from him, or might appeal to the Council of 
Elders for trial by sasswood ordeal. An habitual thief, who was 
likewise a stranger, might be expelled, though he was allowed 
to take with him his wife and children, even though they were 
of Mumbake descent. 

A man falsely accused of crime, or who considered himself 
libelled, would swear his innocence on the bow of a third party, 
by the weapons of his ancestors. The owner of the bow would 
then fire at some animal, if he hit it the accused would take the 
bow, arrow and game to his libeller, who had to pay him six 
things ; if the archer missed he had to pay them to his accuser. 

A man committing rape or adultery would be killed by the 
aggrieved husband ; if the girl were not engaged he would pay 
damages to her parents. 

An illegitimate child belongs to his mother's lawful husband, 
but does not inherit from him. Lunatics were confined and their 
property held in trust, either by their brothers or sisters. Heirs 
were liable for debt, a record of which was kept by tallies of grass, 
but there was no means of enforcing payment. Interest was 

Sale takes place before witnesses and is not complete until 
the full price has been paid. Movable property is pledged, but 
not persons or land. There is no hired labour or slavery. 

All land disputes were referred to the Elders, but if no agree- 
ment was come to the interested parties appealed to force. 

In the first place rights of occupancy are granted by the village 
Chiefs, and these pass to the occupant's heirs. Should land thus 
granted be deserted for any period up to a year it cannot be 
regranted, unless it is proved that the whole family is extinct. A 

TRIBES. 283 

resident foreigner may be given a right of occupancy, which 
passes to his heirs, but lapses should he leave the district. A 
non-resident may be granted a loan of land, either from the 
village-chief or a private individual, but the right lapses with his 
death and is terminable at any time, by notice, after the harvest 
is gathered. No rent is given. Women may not own land. 

Locust-bean, tamarind, baobab and shea-butter trees are the 
property of the farmer on whose land they grow ; other trees 
are common property wherever they grow, and all trees on fallow 
and bush land are common to all. 

Boundaries between farms are marked by cairns and yuware 
or yayi (grass) . 

In preparing a farm the ground is cleared and the refuse burned 
upon it. The farmer then sacrifices a cock, holding it on the 
path that leads from his house to the farm, with its head towards 
the farm, and cuts its throat. He can then proceed to lightly 
hoe, plant and weed his land, his implements being a locally-made 
light hoe and a short-hafted, pick-headed axe, which, when 
turned round, forms an adze. (The iron is imported from Mumuye 
country). Neither rotation of crops, manuring nor irrigation is 
practised. When the corn is ripe the Chief takes a knife, which 
is smeared with the juice of tiger-lily root. With this he cuts 
the first corn, brews it into beer, and when it is ready summons 
the men to drink it, smearing the dregs on the back of each 
man's hand and praying for a good crop the following year. No 
one may reap before this ceremony has been enacted, but if they 
require the grain to satisfy hunger, they may take sufficient for 
the daily need, but must either hoe the corn down at the roots, 
or bite the heads off with their teeth. 

Goats, fowls and dogs are kept, but with the exception of game, 
meat is rarely eaten. The ordinary food is porridge made of 
guinea-corn, which is eaten with a sauce of vegetable oil and 
salt, herbs, yams, ground-nuts and fish. 

If there is a shortage of crops the fruit of the baobab, flour 
from the locust-bean , wild yams , the seed of a grass called ' ' tabra , ' ' 
and the root of a plant like the bulrush, called " labbifauru " = 
' hyaenas spear," and which resembles a close fibred onion, are 
all consumed. In no case may any member of the canine or feline 
species, a horse, donkey, house-rat, monkey or bird of prey be 

It is the custom, though not the right, for the poor to receive 
food from the rich. 

The Mumbake weave a good coarse cloth from locally grown 
cotton, and they make bags for the storage of grain and knapsacks 
from the fibre of the baobab tree. They also make a rough 



Trade is by barter strips of cloth, hoes, iron bars, bracelets 
and goats being the ordinary form of currency. The only recog- 
nised measure is a basket which can hold fifty-six pounds of 
threshed grain. 

Fish is obtained in the rainy season. It is first dried and then 
ground up v/ith herbs, then damped and moulded into cones. 

Hunting is a regular ceremonial, big circular drives being 
organised within defined boundaries. The day before the hunt 
is to take place they clean the graves of their ancestors, and lay 
their weapons on them, saying : " By the respect I have shown 
you, grant me your prowess with the weapons I have inherited." 
On the day itself they follow the Chief to a certain spot, where 
they form a long line on either side of him. He takes a branch 
of a tree with silvery leaves, and shakes it towards the sun, 
saying : " This we inherited from our forefathers may this hunt 
prosper." He then breaks the branch into two pieces, throws 
them on the ground, spits on them, and puts a stone on them 
to hold them down. 

The hunters extend right and left, till they form a huge circle, 
they then advance towards the centre, firing the unburnt grass 
as they go . The man who draws first blood gets the animal , but gives 
the shoulder and neck respectively to those who were second and 
third to hit it . If the beast is not dead they turn the head towards 
the sun and cut its throat. The Chief receives the leg and liver 
of a roan antelope or of a buffalo, but of no other animal. As 
they return home the women come to meet them, dancing a 
special dance. 

The weapons used (including those used in warfare) are bows 
and arrows, light spears, axes, and two feet long swords, the 
blades of which are narrow near the hilt, and broaden to their 
widest point some three inches above the point. 

The Mumbake men are small in stature ; they have high narrow 
foreheads, high cheek bones, small deep-set eyes and long some- 
what bulbous noses. They usually wear 'either loin-cloths of 
tanned goat-skin, dyed black, or a short sleeveless tunic of red 
or blue cloth, woven locally. The older men shave, while the 
young men plait their hair, stringing beads to the end of each 
tail. They also wear necklaces of blue or of white beads. All 
the men carry knapsacks, made of baobab fibre, in which are 
stowed! flint, steel and tobacco, for they are great smokers and 
snuff-takers, besides drinking largely. In character they are 
industrious, fairly intelligent, and more straight-spoken than 

The women wear belts of ramma (Hibiscus lunarifolius) fibre, 
with a short tassel in front and a long tassel behind. These are 
discarded for rough work, but the older women replace them with 
a bunch of leaves. A string or two of beads round the waist and 
a necklace completes the costume, which is handed down from 

TRIBES. 285 

mother to daughter. They wear the hair in an identical manner 
with the men. 

A family embraces all descendants of a common ancestor to 
the fourth generation, all within those degrees being bound by 
the family obligations, blood vengeance, etc. A stranger could 
be adopted into the tribe if he were willing to attend the harvest 
festival and conform to all the rites. 

If a foreign woman married into the tribe her first child was 
considered to belong to her own tribe, and all subsequent ones 
to their father's. 

No man was permitted to marry his own first cousin, or his 
wife's sister or niece. 

Betrothal takes place when a boy is about six years old and the 
girl three days old. The suitor, or his guardian, then brings wood 
and water to the mother of the infant. When the baby first 
laughs he gives her a string of beads, when she walks alone > a 
strip of coarse undyed cloth and a calabash. From then on he has 
to feed her and she is under his control, except as regards house- 
hold duties, which she fulfils under her mother's orders. When 
she is seven or eight the boy builds her a separate hut in her 
parents' compound, to which he has access, giving her mother 
three strips of cloth. When she is of age, or becomes enceinte, 
he kills a sheep or bull, and feasts her family at her house. They 
send him grain, which he brews, and next day the girl goes to his 
house. In about nine days, when the beer has fermented, there 
is a big feast there. Henceforth the groom is no longer obliged 
to work for his father. Before she attains the age of puberty 
a girl may refuse to consummate the marriage, in which case 
the dowry is returned. So long as she is in her parent's hut 
adultery is thought no great wrong. There is no divorce. 

It is the recognised duty of a husband to provide his wife 
with food and beads, while she is obliged to cook for him and to 
carry water. Of her own free will she will often help him on the 

A man may have as many as six wives. His first wife is the 
chief one, and apportions their duties and even food to the others, 
while the husband can only give them presents through her. 

A woman does not cohabit with her husband until her 

youngest child can walk alone. She suckles it until another 

baby arrives, or it refuses. There is a heavy infant mortality 
from malaria. 

Boys are circumcised when they are about thirteen years 
old. The men form a circle, some three deep, round them, and 
one by one is seized and held from behind while the chief performs 
the operation. The wounds are treated with poultices of hot 


water and baobab leaves. When these are healed the youths 
are accounted adults, and may take part in drinking and religious 

When a man dies his body is wrapped in a sack of cloth, if 
a rich man ; in strips of native cloth, if a poor man ; and the 
women dance, sing and wail till the following day, when the 
corpse is buried in a grave, three feet deep, lined with leaves, 
the feet being towards the east. Friends bring grain, which is 
brewed and drunk at the feast that takes place nine days later. 
Should the body swell it is regarded as a sign that the deceased 
was a witch, and that the familiar is attempting to escape. In 
this case the ordinary rites are not observed. 

Widows are obliged to marry a brother, nephew, or first 
cousin of their late husbands, but within these limits they may 
make their own selection. 

The property is divided between the deceased's (a) eldest 
surviving brother [full or uterine], (b) eldest surviving son, 
(c) brother's son, (d) son's son, (e) eldest surviving daughter's 
son, (/) sister's son. It is the practice for the deceased's brother 
to hand over the land to the sons, should they not already have 

Minors are in custody of their (a) mother's husband, (b) of 
their father's eldest surviving brother, (c) or of his son. Girls 
are under the guardianship of their mother and fiances, if they 
have no mother of her sister. 

A woman's property passes to her (a) sisters, (b) daughters, 
(c) sister's daughters, etc., as above. 

The Mumbake believe that the spirits of the dead (Rengma) 
go westwards after death, that they may remain spirits and haunt 
the burial grounds, or that they may enter some unborn child 
and be re-incarnated. The dying frequently see these spirits. 
They believe that shooting stars are spirits either entering or 
leaving this world, and that meteorites represent the spirits of 
important men. 

They brought no priest on their wanderings and have lost 
many of their traditions, but they think that monkeys may be 
human beings, and that anyone who eats them would become 
deaf. They think that an eclipse portends the birth of an 
elephant . 

The Sun, Nyama, is worshipped. He is the patron of the 
chase. Vomnugumba, the god of fecundity (agriculture and 
child-birth), is also worshipped. His shrine is in a rock sanctuary 
on Mumbake Hill. Sacrifices of fowls, goats and beer are made 
to both. As aforementioned the Chief is also the high 

TRIBES. 287 



Mr. H. M. Brice-Smith. Mr. T. H. Haughton. 


Captain E. A. Brackenbury. Mr. S. H. P. Vereker. 

Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The name Mumuye, by which this people are commonly 
known, was given to them by the Filane, the native name being 
Fungun or Zagum. 

They occupy an area of 530 square miles in the Provinces of 
Muri and Yola, with a population of some twenty-five thousand. 
Two-thirds of the tribe (17,079) are in Muri, where they have 
recently been incorporated in the Emirate. Those in Yola, 
together with the Chamba, with whom they have intermarried, 
have been put under Yola Emirate, in the pagan division. 

They were once conquered and enslaved by the Jukon, but 
had long since regained independence when the Filane drove them 
from the northern plains to the hills. They joined together in 
fighting the common foe, but at other times fought each other 

There is no paramount chief, each tribal group being under a 
chief, known as Panti, an hereditary office passing to the eldest 
male member of the family, but which carried with it little 

Land was held by these chiefs in trust for their people, but 
once a right of occupancy was granted,. the occupier had the 
right to sell, lease or give his claim to another. 

Cairns and hedges of " yawi " grass mark the boundaries; 
any dispute concerning them is settled by the elders, the claimant 
first straddling the debated area and invoking death upon himself 
before next harvest if he lies. 

Debt is universal and a count is kept by tallies of sticks ; in 
Yola Province force cannot be used to make a free man pay, 
but in Muri property may be seized, or a woman sold, in settlement 
of the contract. 

Murder was avenged by the family of the deceased (the 
slaughter of a witch or a wizard was accounted no murder) ; and 
adultery by the aggrieved husband, though he might waive his 
right to kill, for a fine of seven goats and a dog. 

A thief was commonly sold as a slave. 


The Mumuye inhabit a mountainous, well- watered and fertile 
country. In the heart of the hills huts are found on the peaks 
amongst the rocks, but the villages are more usually built round 
the base. The compounds are circular in shape, and are sur- 
rounded by zana matting, which encloses two or more round huts 
with thatched roofs, and several corn-bins. Every township 
contains stables for goats, made of large stones with a flat top. 
The villages vary in size from 30 to 250 houses. They are 
commonly surrounded with cactus hedges, and are further de- 
fended by deep pits in the bottom of which pikes are placed. 

Large cow-hide shields an- used, and the weapons are spears, 
short swords, and bows and arrows. The latter are tipped with 
barbed stcH , which are lightly lashed on to the shafts, the lashings 
being smeared with poison for three or four inches. When the 
missile strikes the shaft comes oft, leaving the hc;id in the wound 
and breaking up the poison, which, if fresh, is strong enough to 
kill a buffalo in half an hour. Spears and bows and arrows are 
also used in hunting. Game is also netted and snared. A stout 
noose is suspended from a pliant sapling, which is kept in its place 
by a forked stick holding it to the ground. As the animal enters 
the noose the stick is dislodged and, as the sapling springs erect, 
the noose pulls taut. 

The characteristic dress for a man is one or more leather 
girdles, the ends of which are fringed and hang to the front and 
back like a sporran of boot-laces. The fringe is ornamented with 
beads, cowries and tenths. These are locally made from the 
hides of the Filane cattle. In addition to this garment a goat-skin 
is worn, the skin of each hind leg being brought round the hips 
and tied to the girdle in front, while the fore legs are caught up 
between the legs and fastened to the girdle, which is itself kept 
fast in front by a piece of stick, to which are attached one or two 
strands of the fringe. This costume is varied from nothing at 
all to a short gown. Both sexes wear beads, and brass and iron 
rings on their legs and arms, and plugs of wood in the ear, from 
two to three inches in diameter. The women wear bands of beads 
round the loins and bunches of leaves before and behind. Their 
stomachs are tattooed, a straw is passed through a hole at the 
back of the nostrils, and the nostril is pierced in two places to 
contain pieces of wood. 

Three horizontal rows of small cuts are made on the forehead 
above the eyes, three horizontal rows of small cuts are made 
between the eye and the ear, and three horizontal rows of small 
cuts on the cheek in line with the lips. The men file the four 
upper front teeth to a point. 

They are an agricultural people and, particularly those in the 
west, make successful farmeis, yams being the staple crop. Large 
quantities of tobacco are grown. 

TRIBES. 289 

Women scatter seed, husk the corn, and do light field labours. 

Good pottery is made, the pitchers being ornamented with 
dog-like faces, and some of the cooking vessels have three curved 

Weaving is done, and there are a considerable number of 
smiths. The iron is smelted locally, it is washed down from 
the hills as sand, and is smelted in a long clay pipe, into which 
charcoal and ore is thrown alternately. W T hen the metal 
is collected from the furnace it is again heated and then taken 
to the forge. 

Honey is collected from large pots, which are placed in the 
trees as bee-hives. 

In Yola Province the Mumuye collect rubber, which they 
sell to Haussa traders for one penny a ball. 

The ordinary form of currency is iron bars, thickened in the 
centre, and from six to nine inches long, which are made locally. 
Their value is fractionally more than id. a piece. 

A pale greenish-blue bead from the west (turquoise matrix) 
and certain strips of cloths have fixed values, i.e., undyed cloth, 
blue and white cloth used for clothing, and green and yellow 
striped cloths used for girths. Cowries are in circulation in 
small numbers. 

Fowls, sheep, goats and cattle are kept, the latter are hump- 
less and valueless for milk. They are used as currency and for 
sacrificial purposes, as meat is only eaten at festivals, fowls 
being exclusively slaughtered for sacrifice. The flesh of goat, 
dog and monkey is forbidden to women at all times. The sexes 
eat separately, in family groups. 

The head of the family has nominal authority over his house- 
hold, but his actual power depends on his. physical strength. 

There is no legal limit to the number, but a man usually has 
one or two wives. 

A suitor oils himself and visits the father of his prospective 
bride, with whom he drinks, and to whom he gives two iron 
bars. If these are accepted his suit is acknowledged, and he 
works on his future father-in-law's farm and pays a dowry varying 
from twenty to sixty goats, or their equivalent value in iron, 
according to the age of the bride, a very young girl fetching the 
largest price. 

Girls may marry outside the tribe, and are usually allowed 
the right of refusal. 

Boys are circumcised when two years of age. 

Both boys and girls go through a formal initiation. In the 
case of the former, at all events, it is a religious ceremony which 
takes place in the tsafi house. It comprises tattooing and flogging 
in test of manhood. 

Women wail throughout the night following a death. The 
corpse is stretched straight out with the head towards the east , 



and is placed in a circular grave common to all members of that 
family, beneath a big tree in the village. It is five feet in depth, 
and an oblong space is scooped out to admit the body. It is not 
filled in with earth, but a stone is placed at the mouth. Cooking 
utensils are placed on the grave and left till, when the flesh is 
decomposed, the skull is removed and carried in a pot to a 
secluded place in the village.* 

The widows pass to the brothers of their deceased husbands, 
to whom they are married after a period of two years, a coarse 
white cloth, being worn round the loins by both sexes, during 
the period of mourning. It is woven by the Meka branch of 

In addition to the widows the brother of the deceased inherits 
the stock, stored grain, etc., and makes a small present to the 
younger sons. The eldest son succeeds to the farm, compound, 
and to any girls who are virgins. 

Some Mumuye think that there is no future life, but others 
believe that the dead are born again after an interval of two 
years, during which time their lights live in trees near the grave. 
The evil have no future life. 

Every village has its tsafi house, where images are kept, an 
which is surrounded by zana matting. 

" Wukka " is the principal god, the god of Fate. Women 
may not even hear of him and the elders alone may see his effigy, 
a featureless mask of red wood with two horns and a protruding 
mouth in the centre. ' Donso " is consulted as to death, but is 
not considered infallible. 

" Aku " presides over trials by ordeal a horn is blown 
before he speaks. There are many wooden images, some two 
feet high, representing both sexes. 

The chief festival of the year is held at the time of the yam 
harvest, when two men, constantly succeeded by other couples, 
dance opposite to each other. They are dressed in ceremonial 
garb, i.e., wooden masks with trails of plaited grass, or horse's 
tails, hanging to the ground with horns, straw hats adorned 
with feathers, and large oblong leather shields which cover the 
whole body. 

A great deal of beer is drunk on this occasion. 

The Mumuye in Muri Province are divided into eight branches : 
(i) Kwoji, (2) Kutsere, (3) Kutsere Sungre, (4) Sumpa, (5) Manna, 
(6) Meka, (7) Dabon or Zumfa, (8) Kwona. The two former are 
the most backward. 

The Mumuye in Yola Province have the following off-sets, 
who, though they speak different dialects, have a common origin : 

* The grave of the Sarkin Kutsere contained three large pots, each 
containing four human skulls. 

TRIBES. 291 

(i) Batisu, (2) Waka, (3) Yakoko, (4) Yundam, (5) Zinna. They 
joined together in lighting against the Filane, by whom they 
were never conquered. 

Captain R. B. Knight. Mr. G. W. Webster. 

At one time the Waka followed the Batta Chief, but threw 
off their allegiance in 1907 A.D., and are now in the Independent 
Pagan Division of Yola Province. 

Their territory adjoins that of the Mumuye and of the Yundam, 
whose dialect they understand, and with whom they intermarry. 
They occupy an area of about one hundred square miles and have 
a population of some 990. 

They have a Chief, " Atatingi," and village chiefs who are aided 
by a council of elders. 

Disputes are sometimes settled by ordeal, when two seeds 
of the " Tsoso " tree are put in a calabash of water, which the 
accused drinks. If he vomits his claim is proved, but the seeds 
are not sufficiently poisonous to cause death. 

If a quarrel arises as to debt, the disputants, surrounded by 
their friends and relatives, fight it out. The combat is terminated 
when a blacksmith erects a small black iron in the centre of the 

The people are mainly agriculturists. Small humped cattle 
are kept, besides goats, fowls and sheep. 

No circumcision is practised. 

When a suitor first goes courting he gives his prospective 
father-in-law presents ; if these are accepted the suit is gained, 
and he gives more cloth and goats. When the girl is of marriage- 
able age, usually when she is nine years old, the groom comes 
and lives in her parents' compound until she has given birth to 
her first child, when she goes to her husband's house. 

There is no limit to the number of wives permitted. 

A corpse is wrapped in a cloth and laid in a rectangular grave 
in the compound. It is subsequently closed by a flat stone, which 
is covered with mud. After a period of nine months the bones are 
gathered and buried in a small hole in the compound and the 
grave is available for its next occupant. 

Their religion and other customs appear to be identical with 
those of the Mumuye. 

AUTHORITY : Captain R. B. Knight. 

The Yakoko are situated in a flat barren region in the Maio 
Faran District, west of Chukol, in Yola Province ; as also in the 
fertile and well-watered district bearing their own name. Here, 


in an area of a hundred square miles, they have a population 
5.355 healthy people, the old, blind and sick being commonly 
driven away or starved to death. 

They are an offshoot of the Mumuye and speak a common 
language with them ; but for many years they waged warfare 
with the neighbouring Mumuye tribes of Zinna and Yundam, 
and did not intermarry with them, except as the result of slave- 
raids. Male prisoners were always killed, but women were com- 
pelled to marry their captors. 

The Filane raided but never conquered the Yakoko, who 
retaliated by creeping after and ham-stringing the horses of the 

The tribal Chief, " Ratang," lives on the east side of the 
hills, but he is very old, and the Yakoko have been put under 
the Zinna chief, who had married a Yakoko woman. He lives 
at Zinna. 

Each family is governed by its eldest male representative, 
whose office is entitled " Panti." Each family occupies a village 
to itself, the huts being small in size and built of grass or zana 
matting, whereas the houses of the Panti are larger and are built 
of mud. 

Thick cactus hedges surround each village, the boundaries 
between one and the other being demarcated by cairns. They are 
situated on or around the hills and are shaded by the cotton 
tree and locust bean. 

The pods of the former are stored in the corn-bins and are 
used both for food and lint. 

The farms are in the valleys and are worked by both men and 
women, each having his or her own plot. The men exclusively 
cultivate guinea-corn (which is used for brewing only) and yams ; 
women maiwa ; these being the principal crops. Subsidiary 
crops, such as ground-nuts, are cultivated by both alike. The 
bins and produce are shared for domestic use. The average 
value of a man's farm is assessed at 155., of a woman's at 55. 
The ordinary procedure after clearing ground to make a new 
farm is to sow guinea-corn or maiwa, the ground being cleared 
again when the cereals are about six inches above the ground. 
No manure is used and for three successive years guinea-corn 
or maiwa are raised on the same plot. The following year the 
earth is dug comparatively deep and yams are sown at the tops 
of high ridges, two crops being raised in the year. Guinea-corn 
or maiwa are grown the following year in regular rotation of 
successive years with yams. 

Other occupations are iron working and weaving : the cloth 
being woven in black, blue, green, brown and white stripes 
their main use being as burial shrouds. 

The women wear nothing but bunches of leaves, or two large 
polished discs below the girdle, with small strings of beads in 

TRIBES. 293 

front. They insert two pieces of stick lengthwise through their 
nostrils, and both sexes pierce the lobes of their ears, gradually 
increasing the size of the hole until a piece of wood, shaped like 
a reel of cotton, can be inserted. 

The men wear skins, cloths, or nothing, promiscuously, to 
which are added iron bangles of a size to denote their owner's 
rank. That of the most important family-head reaches to the 

The ordinary arms carried are long and short knives, swords, 
and bows with unpoisoned arrows. 

A family head generally has two or three wives, but the 
commoner can rarely afford the marriage fees for more than one. 

A girl is betrothed on her birth, when the groom gives her a 
bracelet worth id. He makes continual presents to her parents, 
according to his wealth, until the girl attains marriageable age, 
at about ten years old. He then gives her cloths, and her parents 
goats, etc., and lives with her in her parents' house until she has 
borne him a child. If she is barren from natural causes she is sepa- 
rated from her husband, but if she has attained this end of set 
purpose (a case decided by the god " Vakka ") she is beaten and 
driven out from the village. 

' Vakka,"* one of the three principal deities, is the god of 
morality, and, generally speaking, keeps women in order. (A 
man convicted ol adultery is fined six goats and is beaten by the 
whole village.) ' Vakka " is represented by a wooden image, 
with a man's face painted red and white. The only opening is 
the mouth and it has two horns and long yellow flax-like hair. 

' Fadoso " is the god of eating and drinking. When he 
arrives and sits down to a feast all the young men present rise 
and retire, leaving him alone with the elders. 

" Jan-la " is the god of justice and settles all legal disputes. 

In the temples, which are nothing more than small zana huts, 
wooden images, two feet to four feet high, representing male 
and female deities, are stored. 

Circumcision is practised. 

Burial takes place in the compounds. Beads and skins are put 
into the grave first, then the body, laid at right angles, wrapped in 
strips of cloth. The grave is closed by a stone slab, and a beer- 
drinking wake ensues for nine. days. On the ninth day the bones 
and skull are removed, and are placed in a hole in the rocks near 
the deceased's home, thus leaving the grave free for future use. 

A man's brother, or failing a brother, his son, is heir and 
executor. He inherits both wives and stock, but if the deceased's 
son is over twelve years old the younger widows are reserved for 
his enjoyment. 

A woman's heir is her eldest brother. 

* Probably (he Mumuye " Wukka." 


The Yundam are situated to the north-west of Chukol, and 
occupy some hundred square miles adjoining those areas inhabited 
by the Zinna and Waka. They are closely allied with the Waka, 
themselves a sept of the Mumuye, and number some 1,095. They 
formerly followed the Batta, but threw off their allegiance in 
1907. Some five hundred are situated in the Lau Division of 
Muri Province. 

The ordinary marriage dower is said to be a large quantity of 
" rina " (a dyeing material), a hundred rats, three goats and one 

The Sarkin Bujam is buried in the town of Bujam, but after 
the lapse of two years the grave is re-opened and the skull removed. 
It is carried in state to his native village and kept in a house 
set apart for the purpose. 

The Zinna have a common origin and language with the 
Yakoko, themselves an offshoot of the Mumuye. 

They occupy some 100 square miles to the south of the Yundam 
on the Muri-Yola boundary, a district that contains a population 
of some 7,667. 


AUTHORITY : Major F. Edgar. 

The Munawa are a mixture of Kanuri and Jarawa. The 
place was originally occupied by a Galadima of Bornu, who 
accompanied the Shehu of Bornu on a military expedition, 
but he fell ill with small-pox and remained with his wives and 
followers at a place called Bakirin, north of Mun. Another 
colony from Bornu called Banur also settled in the neighbourhood, 
and when the Mune arrived about the middle of the nineteenth 
centur}' they intermarried. 

The first Chief, son of the Galadima of Bornu, was one of 
those who accompanied Yakubu to Sokoto, and who followed 
him he and his people being Muhammadans: when he declared 
the Jihad. Yakubu presented him with a white flag, which 
is still at Juwara (Bauchi Division), whence the Munawa moved 
in Ibrahimi's reign, but a serious split occurred shortly after, 
when the Sarkin Kanam revolted against the Filane, and a large 
proportion of the people joined with him and established their in- 
dependence at Mun, the Chief, with a small following, returning 
to Juwara, where they have lived under the Filane ever since. 

TRIBES. 295 

The inhabitants of Mun are now reduced to some 322 in 
number. They speak Jaranchi, practise circumcision, and 
profess Muhammadanism, though they invoke the ' Wari " 
(a disembodied spirit) in times of crisis. 

They bear similar tribal markings to the Jarawa. 



Captain U. F. Ruxton. Mr. A. L. Auchinleck. 

Mr. H. 0. Glenny. Captain C. F. Gordon. 

Mr. K. Hamilton. Mr. F. E. Maltby. 

Captain C. F. Rowe. Mr. H. M. Brice-Smith. 

The Munshi or Tivi, with a population of some 350,000, 
occupy an area of some 9,000 square miles in the south-east 
of Muri Province, where it marches with Southern Nigeria and 
the Kamerun.* The Benue flows through their territory, though 
only a comparatively small number of people live to the north 
of it. Few, if any, villages are on the river itself, but are situated 
in undulating, well- watered and open country, which rises to 
a height of some 3,500 feet, where it adjoins the Kamerun Moun- 
tains. Thick bush and big trees flourish round the streams. 

The Munshi probably formed part of a great Bantu exodus, 
which migrated from the south-east, by way of the Congo River, 
settling in Ogowe, in the Bisheri and Gagi Hills, and at Suem 
and the Nongo Hills south-east of Idah, pressing north, of recent 
years, in search of fresh lands to their present location. 

They are now divided into many clans, but all trace their 
descent from a common ancestor, " Awonga " (he of the spear), 
who is also called ' Takaruku " (one long in the world), and 
of Tivi (or Tibi), his son by " Shono " (my woman). 

The legend is that Tivi was a devoted son to his old blind 
father, but that when Awonga lay on his death-bed another 
son, Oke, impersonated Tivi and obtained his sire's dying bene- 
diction and all his possessions. 

When Tivi returned and the fraud was discovered his father 
could not alter his bequest, but he sprinkled earth upon the 
hoe of his favourite son and foretold that his farm would prosper, 
and that he would live to feed his brother. The prophecy was 
fulfilled, and Tivi became ancestor to the whole Munshi tribe, 
whose native name is Tivi. 

*A rectification of this line has been made recently, and the Munshi 
are no longer in Muri Province. 


He had two sons, Pussu and Tchongo, whose descendants 
maintained a broad division one between the other. The 
Bai- Tchongo practised circumcision, the Bai Pussu did not; the 
practice has now become general. 

The pefix " Ba," plural " Bai," means " son of," and the 
suffixes " ava, aba, ovo, bo," etc., mean " come," it will 
be seen that these are of common occurrence in the clan names. 

The following notes are incomplete : 

The Bai-Pussu are commonly called Paraba, which has been 
Haussa-ised into Kworaba, from the locality they occupied. 
In early days they lived in the Dama country of Southern Nigeria, 
whence they were gradually pressed eastwards. 

Pussu had three sons and a daughter. 

1. Tombo, whose descendants migrated from Gayi in Southern 
Nigeria, and who now occupy an area of some 362 square miles, 
which is divided into an eastern and western district, with a 
population of 12,778, giving an average to the square mile of 
28 per cent, and 41 per cent, respectively. The western district 
is occupied by the descendants of Tombo's eldest son, Tie, and 
the eastern by the descendants of his younger son Raga. B'Aiya 
and B'Apeni are sub-sections of the Tie clan. 

2. Usara, or Niomerkerre, had nine sons, of whom the 
descendants of the eldest, Yandava, occupy an area of 
thirty-five square miles, with a population of 2,439, showing 
a percentage of 68.3 to the square mile. Sub-sections are Bawar 
and Ba-Nyongo. ' Yanda " means a symbol which, like the 
fiery cross, summons people on emergency. It takes the form 
of the stem of a young bamboo, to which is attached either some 
of its own tuberous root, a tassel of cloth, some ribbons, or 
a bunch of grass. ' Va " (comes), thus 'Yandava" (the 
symbol comes), a name given at birth. 

The descendants of the second son, Ipava, occupy an area 
of seventy-five square miles, with a population of 8,334, showing 
a density of no to the square mile. Sub-sections are Bakperi 
and Igoro. ' Ipa " (division). 

Ba-Tiava (war is coming) founded a clan who now occupy 
an area of twenty square miles. 

Another son, Teribi, founded a clan who now occupy an 
area of twenty square miles. 

Another son, Yorno (ants), founded a clan who now occupy 
an area of thirty-three square miles. 

Another son, Koro (horns), founded a clan who now occupy 
an area of sixty-six square miles with a population of some 2,205. 

The three remaining sons were named Shorova, Kussuva, and 

3. The third son, Jachira, had four sons, of whom the 
second was called Shangava, which means " he who came 
with the wall-eye." His descendants occupy two districts. 

TRIBES. 297 

In South Shangava they occupy an area of 130 square miles 
with a population of 8,510, showing a density of sixty-four per 
square mile in the other district they show a density of twenty- 
six per square mile. Sub-sections are Tondovo, Morova, and 

The fourth son bore the name Kunava, which means ' the 
bush-fowl comes." 

The Kunava district covers an area of some 320 square miles 
and supports a population of 47,770, showing a density of 150 
per square mile. Sub-sections are Ute, Mbara, Tsamba, Bagwara, 
Baduku, Baiyongo, Bakanga and Niengeve. 

When the honoured visitor arrives for the first time in a 
village the head-men proffer to him a carved double-spoon con- 
taining gari, with red pepper in the larger bowl, and salt in 
the smaller. 

The two remaining sons were named Y'wanava and Igava. 

4. Tusha, the daughter of Pussu, was lost in the bush, and 
when discovered was with child by a bush-man. This child, 
Kamu, has left 7,385 descendants. 

Whether or not her other six sons were by the bush-man 
is not related. 

The descendants of one of them, Nanava, occupy an area 
of seventy square miles, with a population of 10,400, showing 
a density of 148 per square mile. Sub-sections are Baiyo and 

They recognise Toro-Adiko (Siteri ?) as their head, but 
rather as a spiritual than a temporal power. They are at constant 
enmity with Tsava and Rumbu to the north. 

Another son, Utanga, has 1,575 descendants. 

The descendants of yet another, Siteri, are in two divisions 

the South Siteri or Siteri Adiko, who are a hill-clan, occupying 

an area of 880 square miles, with a population of 13,200, showing 

a density of fifteen per square mile, and the North Siteri or 


Sub-sections of the South Siteri are Ikpav and Igamba. 

Another son, Nyeve, has left 915 descendants of his own 
name, who now occupy some fifteen square miles of fertile and 
undulating country in the Katsena Al ah District, showing 
a density of population of sixty-one to the square mile. In the 
same neighbourhood is a further group of his descendants, 
Ituruvu by name, who, together with the Yiwanava, occupy 
an area of seventy-five square miles with a population of 915, 
showing a density of twelve per square mile. They are to be 
incorporated with the Kendeve, a branch of the Tchongo. They 
live in mountainous country on the Kamerun border, the hills 
being interspersed with valleys of thick bush and forest, which 
are always damp. 


Another son, Ukana, has left descendants hight Baika, 
with offshoots Bayere and Bagwaza. 

The remaining son was named Turubu. 
Tchongo had seven sons. The youngest : 

1. Marsaba (last child), left descendants through Basheho, 
of the name of Bakara, who occupy an area of twenty-five square 
miles, with a population of 630, showing a density of 25.2 to 
the square mile. 

2. Another son, Haraba (=he who comes with the quivers 
slung on), left descendants who now occupy two districts, eastern 
and western Haraba, on either side of the Benue, marching 
on the west with Nassarawa Province. Here they occupy an 
area of 1,060 square miles, with a population of 48,252, showing 
a density of 45.2 to the square mile. 

In the eastern district they occupy twenty-four square miles. 
They intermarry with the Jukon and Arago. 

3. A third son, Nongovo, founded a clan who occupy three 
districts, Nongovo East, North, and West, with an area of 
nine, six, and seventeen square miles respectively. 

4. Another son, Ikurava or Ikworiba, founded a clan who 
are divided into two districts; the one has an area of 112 square 
miles, while that to the south has an area of 185 square miles. 
It marches with the Kamerun border, and in the north consists 
of undulating bush country, which rises in the south to a height 
of some 3,500 feet. There is a good deal of forest and a good 
water supply. The southern district has a total population 
of 9,916, showing a density of 56.6 to the square mile. 

They were first assessed in 1914 and paid in kind. Sub- 
sections are Bayana and Bayini. 

5. The descendants of another son, Kendeve, occupy an 
area of fifty-five square miles in the Katsena Allah District. 
They have a population of 2, 022, showing a density to the square 
mile of 37. The district is undulating, intersected by hills 1,200 
feet in height whilst in the north an isolated peak rises to a height 
of i ,800 feet. It is drained by the Amiri River, which never 
dries up. This district is to be incorporated with Maaba. 

6. Gwondo has left 5,580 descendants. 

7. Another son, Tongovo, was the progeny of an outcast 
slave woman, and his descendants are, therefore, reckoned of 
little account. No Paraba will intermarry with them lest the 
offspring should have leprosy. 

The Maaba occupy an area of thirty square miles in the 
Katsena Alah District. In the south the country is mountainous 
and rocky, with dense forest belts and fertile valleys, whilst 
in the north it is open and undulating with thick bush. The 
population of 1,298 shows a density of forty-three to the square 

TRIBES. 299 

Little has been ascertained as to the tribal organisation, 
but it appears that each clan had its own Chief, the succession 
passing from brother to brother before reverting to the eldest 
son of the eldest brother. Each clan is divided into sections, 
each section being under its local head-man, amongst whose 
duties it was to organise game drives and to brew beer for the 
subsequent feast, in return for which he received the fore-shoulder 
of any game killed. A section or township is composed of a 
varying number of houses or families, control being vested 
in the head or father of each house. 

Field produce, etc., is communal to the house, and all wealth 
amassed is distributed equally within the house or section. 
Weapons and clothing only are accounted private property. 

The townships are generally situated in open ground, on a 
slight rise close to a hollow, where water is to be found. A shallow 
ditch commonly surrounds the village, within which a stockade 
of poles eight feet to nine feet in height is erected on an earthen 
parapet some two feet to four and a half feet high a defence 
occasionally replaced by a mud wall. The compounds lie very 
close together, and an average sized town will contain some 
fifteen, though villages with as few as four, or as many as fifty-five 
have been recorded. An average compound is built round a 
circular or oblong space, traversed by a line of trees beneath 
which some wall-less shelters are erected, where daily life is 
carried on, and contains further some seven huts with thin mud 
walls and high grass roofs, the eaves of which jut out to afford 
shade outside. The entrances to these are raised some two 
feet above the ground, but holes are pierced on the ground-level 
to admit of goats and fowls coming in and out. The interior 
of the reception hut is often decorated with various coloured 
washes, but for the most part these are sleeping apartments, 
one being apportioned to each male member of the family, for 
his own, his wife's and his children's occupation. They all 
sleep there together, their feet pointing inwards. A fire is almost 
always kept burning . The bedsteads are made of wood or bamboo , 
sloping downwards from head to foot. The Munshi are peculiar 
in having chairs of heavy wood (oroko), with backs set at a 
considerable angle. These are stained with camwood, which 
gives the colour of polished mahogany. 

Grain is sometimes stored in specially built bins, sometimes 
in lofts over the sleeping apartments. 

The men, women and children of a family have their meals 
together yams being the staple article of diet. They eat any 
meat, including rats, snakes and lizards, and drink water or 
weak gruel beer being reserved for feasts. 

There is a certain feast, '" abiem," which may be called 
by an old and influential man perhaps once in his life, when 
his relatives and friends bring him presents of cloths (amounting 



sometimes to the value of 50), iron-bars, goats, sheep, fowl 
and yams, which are placed in the centre of a ring round which 
both sexes dance, the women bringing the food and beer. 

There are many forms of dance, and part-songs are sung 
by men. 

The men are of medium height, coarse-featured and 
with thick lips. They are strong and agile, but with little 
endurance. The women are somewhat short in stature and 
incline to obesity. They suffer much from their teeth and from 
affections of the eye, and appear to have singularly little power 
of vision in the dark. 

The men are by nature hairy, but shave until marriage, 
when a beard is allowed to grow from beneath the chin, which 
will frequently reach to the chest. It is plaited into three or 
more strands, and is often dyed either a pale dirty pink or blue. 
They wear small rectangular cloths, woven in one piece, which 
reach to just above the knee, but the elders wear gowns which 
reach to the ankle, with cloths round the waist. They, as 
well as the women, adorn themselves with a quantity of ornaments, 
from the ordinary bead (though the men wear few of these), 
brass and iron necklets and bracelets, rings, " snuff rings of 
brass or wood," and toe-rings, to a decoration made of elephant's 
hair threaded with beads, some three or four inches long, which 
is worn in the lobe of the ear. Both sexes paint their bodies with 
camwood paste, as ornament or as embrocation, after a long 
journey; it is also smeared on new-born babies. 

An unmarried girl has her hair shaved, except for two tufts, 
one at the front and one at the back of her head. As a married 
woman she allows it to grow and dresses it in a variety of styles. 
The usual dress is a rectangular cloth worn round the loins, which 
reaches to the knees. They tie small pieces of European cloth 
round their heads. 

On gala occasions, such as market day, the youth of a few 
of either sex, appear painted entirely in white, red, yellow, or 
green, without clothes. 

The tribal mark consists of seven to nine cicatrisations in 
a curve round the outer corner of each eye and frequently one, 
two, or three stars on the forehead or chin in addition to which 
the women have an elaborate, but varying geometrical design 
round the navel. The two centre teeth of the upper jaw are 
filed, and occasionally those in the lower jaw are filed also. 

As far as is known they were never cannibals. 

Women appear to hold a well-defined position in the 
household and, like the Nupe ; are responsible for most of 
the trading transactions, as well as for all food-crops. Men, 
however, sow the guinea-corn which the women weed, and also 
make the yam-heaps. Ecniseed and cotton are crops for which 

TRIBES. 301 

the man is responsible, but he asks his wives' leave before selling 
them. Each wife has her separate farm and store-house. 

Roughly speaking a three years' rotation of crops is practised 
after which the ground is left fallow indefinitely. The first year 
yams, preceded by maize the second year guinea-corn and the 
third year beniseed is grown, cotton being planted amongst 
the crops each year. The guinea-corn is left standing on large 
platforms throughout the dry season only being moved to bins 
at the commencement of the rains. Yams are stored in pits 
covered by grass shelters. 

Flocks of sheep and goats are kept, together with a few 
cattle of diminutive breed. 

The Munshi are industrious farmers, fishermen, and hunters. 
Most game is got on the occasions of big organised drives, when 
a vast circle is formed and the animals are driven inwards, but 
individual huntsmen go out to lie in wait for their prey from the 
branches of some tree. 

The principal industries are weaving and dyeing, certain 
coarse and openwork cloths being peculiar to the Munshi. Metal 
work in iron and brass is also done. They make -heavy carved 
furniture, beds, chairs and stools referred to above. 

Lazy-tongs are used for taking embers from the fire to light 
pipes. Clay models, life-size, of cattle, horses, monkeys, leopards, 
and humans are often seen, and wooden images of men and 
women are made,* for ornamentation only. 

Whether they are a war-like or a timid race is a disputed 
point, but they undoubtedly use a variety of arms. It has been 
roughly assessed that 25 per cent, and 75 per cent, of 
the Haraba and Marsaba warriors possess dane-guns, for which 
they receive a plentiful supply of powder from Calabar, and for 
which they make bullets from the iron rods that are still used 
as currency. Bows and poisoned arrows are used, the poison 
being peculiarly virulent when fresh and wet, and therefore 
less effective in the dry season. They also carry spears, hatchets, 
and short, keen-edged swords, some two feet in length, and 
knives made in one piece with a looped handle which is slipped 
on to the palm. 

The Munshi have an excellent system of signalling known 
as " giddi ku," by which messages are conveyed to a distance 
of sixteen or even thirty miles. The means is a drum made out 
of a hollowed tree-trunk of hard wood and placed lengthwise 
on two logs. It has but a narrow opening at one end and is 
struck by two wooden truncheons in a manner somewhat similar 
to the signalling dummy key. The trunk is hollowed out through 
a slit in the side, while the ends are left intact. Different signals 
are used for war, hunting, marriage and ordeal. 

A number of gods arc worshipped, of whom one, Awundu, 
is regarded as the supreme being, who directs the course of the 


world and who has power over the elements; prayers for rai 
are offered to him by the assembled elders. Thunder-bolts 
(jembe= hatchet Awundu) are believed to render the wearer 
immune from attack by other spirits, and thus to ensure old 
age. When a very old man dies he is said to have been killed 
by Awundu. His power is limited by the influence of lesser 
spirits of good and evil. 

Wainyoru is a good spirit. He assumes the form of a dwarf 
and resides in the hills round Suem (for a long time the habitation 
of the Munshi). At irregular intervals an influential Elder 
gives notice that he is about to appear. Beer is prepared and 
the Elders assemble, sacrifice chickens and consume food and 
drink. Presently an Elder rises, declares that he is possessed 
by Wainyoru and gives some message in a falsetto voice. No 
oath is sworn by him. 

Agashi is the principal god of child-birth, by whom both 
sexes make oath. A man who suffers from any deformity of the 
nose is believed to have foresworn himself. A space is cleared 
in the bush for his worship, and his priests are those Elders- 
entitled Gyeku who live in nearest vicinity to these spots. 
When any individual wishes to make intercession to Agashi 
he asks the Gyeku to arrange an assemblage, which is attended 
by all the local Elders. Yams and chickens have been boiled 
in readiness for the feast. A portion of these are set aside as sacrifice 
to Agashi, whilst the remainder is eaten by the congregation, 
who unite in prayer to the god that he may make the intercessor's 
union fruitful. 

Amongst the other gods are Biema ; Ikombo and 
Suem, by whom oaths are sworn; lywa, god of thunder; 
Sunde, punisher of crime; Achita, god of agriculture; Ukama, 
god of hunting; and Ture, Ichigi, Igbo and Ahumbe, gods of 
child-birth. Various objects, wooden images, and even grass 
and sticks are used to represent them, before which sacrifices 
are offered, though men only may partake of the flesh. Rough 
grass or clay figures and earthenware pots called ' Kombo " 
are used as charms to exorcise evil spirits. 

Men may be possessed by evil spirits, which leave the body 
at night to bewitch farms, houses, stock, people, etc. Those thus 
possessed are called Ba-tsava. It is believed that they eat dead 
bodies after burial, and preserve a small portion of the flesh in 
their satchels, but this must never be shown, and its possession 
is never acknowledged. In 0:912 ' Wainyoru " called upon 
the Ba-tsava to surrender these morsels, and many individuals 
produced them. 

A libation of milk is poured down the holes of black ants. 

Men and women are awarded similar burial rites, the grave 
being usually on the road-side leading from the village of the 
deceased. The body is placed in a sitting position, and the 

TRIBES. 303 

site is marked by an oval mound of earth, on which cloth and 
various articles are placed, including a bed. The grave of a 
Chief is roofed over and h : s possessions placed thereon, but he 
is commonly buried beneath the floor of his own house, 
when the village is at once abandoned (Kumu), but though 
usual this is not obligatory (Maaba). 

It is thought that witches devour the bodies of the dead 
and that, should anyone steal the offerings to the dead, the 
witches would devour the thief. 

Native beer is consumed at the wakes. 

After the burial the mourners purify themselves by passing 
first burning grass and then tobacco round their legs and bodies, 
but no one who is about to marry, or whose wife is about to 
be delivered of a child, will take part in an interment, or come 
into contact with a corpse. Should deaths occur with undue 
frequency the township is abandoned. 

There are three recognised forms of marriage, Musa, Kwosa 
Ike, and Abago. 

The most usual is Musa, /where wives are obtained by 
exchange; that is to say, when a man wishes to marry he must 
give a girl (or equally a woman of suitable age), from his own 
family to that family whence he chooses his bride. 

If one of the exchanged women bears children and the ether 
none, the husband of the barren woman may declare the compact 
void, though he is often willing to accept some other woman, 
children, or goods, in compensation. If the number of children 
borne by one woman does not equal those borne by the other, 
compensation can be claimed by the father of the lesser number. 

He can also claim compensation if his wife dies young. 

The liability for giving compensation rests, in the first place, 
with the woman's male relatives, but if her husband exchanges 
her it falls on him, unless he has first obtained the consent of her 

The children remain with their father, or in his house, though 
the children of a deceased woman are brought up by her house 
until they reach the age of puberty, when they return to their 
father's house. 

A boy may live with a virgin as his wife if he gives her mother 
ten cloths (= /i) and a pig, on the understanding that the girl's 
offspring belong to her family and that, unless he can presently 
make an equivalent exchange, he must give her up. 

By the second method, Kwosa Ika, a dowry may be paid 
to the bride's father, but her house retain the right to have her 
back by refunding the dowry paid, in which case the offspring 
remain with their father. Her husband makes her a wedding 
present of cloth and beads. 

There is no celebration of these two methods of marriage. 



The third, ' Abago," is merely elopement. It is common 
and is the occasion of much rejoicing in the -man's family 
but it is illegal unless regularised by the woman's family accepting 
a leg of beef. 

The punishment for adultery is a fine paid to the woman's 
senior male relative. 

Where the guilt of a delinquent could not be publicly proved, 
recourse was had to trial by ordeal, as also when any death 
occurred that was not due to old age, for, the supposition being 
that the deceased was bewitched, his, or her, family were obliged 
to call for a trial. In each case the accuser paid the ofBciator, 
Sarkin Gwaska, a fee of I2s., probably with a view to deterring 
frivolous accusations. Poison was extracted from the inner 
and outer barks of sasswood,* beaten in a turimi with water, 
boiled and strained. In small quantities it is a good medicine 
for majina (=cold or sickness). A very healthy person will nearly 
always throw it up, unless salt has been added, which makes 
it much more deadly. The Sarkin Gwaska, therefore, puts 
salt under his nails, and could thus easily introduce it into the 
brew should he consider the death of the accused desirable. 

The sasswood is, as a rule, first administered to chickens, 
each accused having a particular fowl as his representative. 
The nominee of that which dies is adjudged guilty and com- 
pensation is claimed from him, though he may be called upon 
to take the poison in person. The suspected person may insist 
upon the accuser undergoing the ordeal at the same time, but 
this is rarely done unless by a member of a very influential 

* Either a distinct tree, or a mixture of many poisonous trees, shrubs 
or climbers, which severally, or collectively, are called Gwaska. 


The Nadu are a very small tribe, of whom little is known, 
in the Jemaa Division of Nassarawa Province. 

They are troglodytes. 

A huntsman will wear a wooden helmet with horns, to which 
a hide can be attached. 

The nose is pierced and transfixed with a reed. 


Namu, numbering some 1,353, have been notified from 
Muri Province. 


Mr. E. J. Arnett. Mr. J. C. Newton. 

The Naweyawa are Haussa-speaking pagans of Kebbawa 
Azna origin. They emigrated from Kebbi, stopping first at 
Birnin Konni and &o to Sokwoi, and south to the Sainyina neigh- 
bourhood in North Sokoto. 

At the time of the Hijira a number of Naweyawa left Gobir, 
and the migrations probably took place since that date, as 
they are said to have founded Magonfo in 1823 A.D., Aliya in 
1833 A.D., and Sainyina in 1868 A.D. 


AUTHORITY : Captain F. Byng-Hall. 

The Nge, sometimes called Ibara, are distributed along the 
banks of the Niger, from Itobe to Gbebe in Bassa Province, 
and on the other side of the river south of Lokoja in Kabba 
Province, also from Gbebe to Mozum on the southern bank 
of the Benue, stretching but a few miles inland to Odugbo. 


Those in Bassa Province number some 12,441. They are 
under a Kanawa district-head, who was introduced by the 
British Government. 

Little is known of their origin. They are probably akin to 
the Bunu, and it has been suggested that both tribes were Nupe 
slaves, who speak a debased Nupe. On the other hand it is 
stated that the Bunu came frpm Iddo in Southern Nigeria (or 
Yagba, near the S.N. border?), that they are connected with 
the Yoruba and speak a dialect of Yoruba. However that may 
be, the Nge inhabited Kabba Province in the neighbourhood oi 
Ero, Kogbe, Ekijana and Patigom. and paid an annual levy 
to the Emir of Bida. About the years ,1840-50 A.D., when they 
had no more slaves wherewith to pay it, the Emir sent an armed 
force against them to exact his tribute. The Nge fled to the 
hill-tops, where they were sieged till after the planting season, 
when the Nupe camp was dispersed. Half the tribe crossed 
the Niger and obtained permission from the Igara to settle 
at Kpata, Echo, Shite and Koji, in" the neighbourhood of Gbebe. 
The next year they were joined by their compatriots from Kabba 
and the Ata of Ida gave them additional lands in the vicinity 
of Dekina. The migration continued year by year, the Nge 
clearing forest as they required the land, till the Igara became 
afraid and opposed their advance. The Nge defeated them in 
battle, declared their independence and occupied the river-banks 
as described above. 

Besides practising the ordinary riverain pursuits the Nge are 
good farmers. The women weave, and use a blue dye from a 
plant called " chumchi." 

Guinea-corn is largely used for brewing beer. The stalks 
are first beaten and the seeds put into cold water for one day. 
This is run off through a wicker strainer, the corn being left in the 
strainer and covered with large leaves. It is then put into running 
water for four days. When the seeds begin to sprout they are 
put into the sun for from three to five days, and when thoroughly 
dry are ground on stone. The flour obtained is put into pots of 
cold water, which are placed round a hot fire for one day; the 
contents is then poured into cold pots. When the mixture is 
cool the liquid is strained through grass back into the former 
pots. They are then put on the fire for two days, and the beer 
is drunk when cool. 

The Nge have two meals a day, at n a.m. and at 7.30 p.m. 
The head of the family has his own dish, but all the other men 
of his compound eat together and the women together. The 
staple dish is soup made from locust-beans, palm-oil and fish, 
seasoned with the leaves of ochro, salt and pepper, or occasionally 
of fowl, goat, sheep or cow, mixed with palm oil, and pepper. 
This is poured over yams, which have been boiled and mashed 

TRIBES. 307 

in an earthenware pot, and then removed by saucers into cala- 
bashes. 'A poor man, however, cannot afford ' yams, and his 
so dp is poured over guinea-corn, which has been beaten from 
the stalk, ground on stones, and then mixed with boiling water. 

Biscuits are made of ground beans, flavoured with salt and 
the crushed dried leaves of the baobab ; these are put into cold 
water overnight and eaten the following morning. 

The houses 'are built of mud, with mud ' roof s which are 
thatched. The owner's hut is approached through a grass-roofed 
porch, which leads into an entrance chamber, containing a 
mud platform on which the people rest by day. Within is one 
doorway ' leading to an inner apartment ceilinged with mud, 
on either side of this is another closet, that to the left being 
the owner's bedroom, which is ceilinged with grass. These 
three inner charhbers are formed by an outer mud wall, the 
enclosed space between it and the inner wall being divided 
into three. A man's bed consists of hard-beaten mud raised 
about 'one foot from the floor; it is : seven feet long and three 
feet broad: The women, perhaps six in number, share a house 
with their 'daughters. Their hut is also enclosed by a second 
outer wall, thus making two rooms. The bed is screened by a 
mud partition built half way across the inner room. , It is formed 
of guinea-corn stalks, laid across three parallel mud ledges nine 
inches high and two feet apart. 

Boys 'have a .hut to themselves. 

Men wear a single cloth, one end of which is passed over 
the shoulder. It has fringed ends which are tied round the waist. 
Girls wear a small open-work cloth from the waist to the knee. 
Married women wear a large cloth which hangs from the breasts. 

There are three different styles of tribal marks : 

1. Consists of three curved lines on either side of the face, 
reaching from the hair to the chin, within which are eight small 
triangles. 'Also three cuts on each side of the forehead. 

2. Two deep broad scars, curving slightly downwards from 
either side of the nose to the centre of the cheek. 

3. Ditto, with an additional scar on either side. 

The men who inflict these marks perform the operation of 
circumcision on boys when they are three months old, on girls 
when they are twelve years old. 

A suitor approaches a girl's parents and asks permission 
to marry their daughter when she is of age. If they agree they 
accept his initial offering of one hundred cowries, and he returns 
twice more, at intervals of five or six days, with a hundred 
cowries, and again three times with two hundred cowries, and 
later on with six hundred cowries. He brings his fellow- villagers 
and friends once a year to work upon his prospective father-in- 
law's farm. When the groom believes his bride to be of 
marriageable age he lays a bag of cowries outside her father's door 


one night, and if the parents agree, they take it in and divide 
it between their respective families. The suitor calls once more 
and gives them cowries to the value of 5s. This done his relatives 
lurk round the house, catch the girl and bring her to the groom, 
Her parents simulate vexation, but are appeased by his relations, 
and as soon as the groom has sufficient riches he regularises 
proceedings once for all by calling on her people and giving 
her father one goat and one fowl, and by dividing us. worth 
of cowries amongst his own family. 

When a woman gives birth to a child both are taken outside 
the hut, and, concealed behind a grass-mat, are washed with 
warm water by the oldest woman. They are then taken back 
to their hut, where they remain for seven days. The mother then 
brings the child out, its father names it and the grandmother 
gives it a second name. The mother takes entire charge of her 
infant, while'her neighbours draw her water and bring her firewood. 
She often eats the fruit of the " Abechi " tree,, which gives her 
strength and milk. She does not cohabit for three years. 

A corpse is immediately taken to the back of the house, 
washed, and stained red with the juice of a tree. Burial does 
not take place for four days in the case of an influential man. 
The vault can contain some twenty people and is approached 
through a ten-feet-deep well, off which a narrow tunnel running 
eastwards leads to the tomb. The body is left here for some 
thirty days, the well alone having been filled in with earth. 
At the end of that period a professional undertaker opens the 
grave and two or three cloths are placed within it. The relatives 
and friends celebrate the occasion by dancing, laughing, shouting 
and letting off dane-guns. They also consume large quantities 
of beer. 

The principal god " Ebunu " is a kindly deity, to whom 
three festivals are held annually, at least one of which must be 
attended by every man. At the harvest festival the god is 
represented in material form, his representative coming out 
from the bush on stilts, entirely concealed beneath white cloths, 
and proceeding towards a clear space beneath a shady tree. 
Men and boys, all stripped to the waist, with bodies and faces 
chalked, and with heads bowed to the ground, form into a long 
line in order of height, the tallest man on the left, the smallest 
boy on the right. The priesthood join the line at either end 
and await the will of the god. Sometimes he decrees that they 
shall proceed to some neighbouring village, when the escort 
precede him, the smallest boy leading the way. If they meet 
anyone bearing any load it is destroyed, unless it is protected 
by having beans laid upon it, for beans are sacred and no one 
may eat them that day. ' Ebunu " may, however, direct 
that they remain where they are, when they dance and drink 
all day. 

TRIBES. 309 

If a child is born whilst an " Ebunu " festival is taking 
place it is regarded as peculiarly sacred, for, they say 'he is 
born with his interior tissues fastened like ropes around him." 

There are representatives of " Ebunu " who warn people 
of coming sickness, war, or danger, and who may be attached 
to certain influential persons. 

A man who steals sylvan wealth is called before the " Ebunu " 
priests, who exact from him a bag of cowries which is paid into 
the fund for providing beer for their religious festivals. 

Image? are kept. 

A certain Chief, entitled " Adoja " (who was formerly of 
the Igara, now of the Nge tribe), is credited with the power of 
withholding or granting rain, and people bring him offerings 
of yams and goats that he may cause their wishes in the matter 
to be fulfilled. 

There are three brotherhoods, all of which come under the 
same title ' Egu," which denotes a brave action, and who are 
bound to support and protect each other under pain of the 
displeasure of the god of " Egu." The first of these consists 
of all men who killed an enemy and obtained his head. Having 
got the trophy the brave puts it behind his house and proclaims 
his feat three times. The villagers collect, and dance, sing, 
and drink for seven nights, during which time the hero may only 
sleep by day. On the seventh day he is given a good gown, 
and a white bandage is bound round his head, decorated with the 
feathers of three birds, that of a white cock, of the black and 
white " Oshi," and of the red " Aloko." His weapons, i.e., 
bow and arrows and sword, or dane-gun, are dressed with cowries, 
and he is marched three times round the nearest market. 

The second society consists of all those who have killed a 
leopard, and the third of those who have killed the " Aloko,"* 
a small, pretty bird, with blue body and red tail-feathers. 

Muhammadanism is gradually penetrating, and at the same 
time the tribal customs are undergoing Svidespread modifications. 


The Ngell or Njell occup}' a district of their own name in 
the Bukuru division of Bauchi Province, where they number 
some 4,000 or 5,000. 

Their residence was originally at Kwom, but they left there 
about 1865 A.D., and were given refuge by the Kibyen (or 
Burmawa), amongst whom they settled and whose language 
they adopted. They became powerful, but were broken by 
the British in 1-904 A.D. 

* Compare Idoma. 


They are mounted almost to a man and depend only on 
throwing spears. 

They wear no clothes. 

They are cannibals, but in other respects closely resemble 
their Burmawa neighbours. 


Capt. J. M. Fremantle. Capt. J. ff. Hopkinson. 

The Ngizim are an offshoot of the Bedde, who came from 
Birnin-Bedr, south-west of Mecca, in the time of the Prophet 
(see history of Bussa and-Illo). 

The main body, some 12,000 Ngizim, are settled in Bornu. 
About the year 1700 A. D., they, were living a few miles west of 
Birni Gazerogomo when the Filane raided and captured that 
town the Ngizim consequently migrated to Kaiuri and thence 
to Potiskum, where they conquered the Keri-Keri. Some remained 
in the Geidam Division, whence they were driven out by the 
Shehu Omar some sixty years ago, but returned not long after. 
A few are settled in the Bedde Independent district., and a small 
number trekked westwards to Hadeija and Katagum. In Bornu 
they have the reputation of being a drunken, backward people, 
and pagans. 

In Potiskum the soil is poor, but farming is the principal 
occupation, and flocks of sheep and goats are kept. There are 
a small number of traders, but they will never go eastwards. 

The following notes are concerning the Hadeija Ngizim, 
many of whom have adopted the Muhammadan religion, and 
whose customs have evidently been modified by that civilising 
influence, though they will still sometimes eat cattle that have 
not had their throats cut. 

They have a distinct language but speak Kanuri also. They 
are great fishermen, cultivating the yawa bean from which 
they make their lines, and eating large quantities of dried fish, 
to which practice they attribute their freedom from ophthalmia. 
They make mats, collect honey, and of course farm, a labour 
in which both sexes participate. They store their grain in pits. 

Like the Bedde the whole family live together in one compound, 
and like them they make their houses all in one piece. 

A feast is given on the naming of a child, when fifteen cala- 
bashes of tuo are collected and divided amongst the people 
of the village. A ram, or he-goat, is provided,* and cut up by 
the relations, who give the hind-quarters to the mother, the 
fore-quarters to the maternal grandfather. 

TRIBES. 311 

A suitor brings a present of 2,000 cowries and four mats to 
the father of the girl whose hand he demands in marriage. At 
the Salahs Azumi and Laiya he brings a further 1,000 cowries 
and gives the girl presents of zannas. After two or 
three years he gives 12,000 cowries to the girl's parents, 
to the girl some turkudi (blue shiny cloth), to the man 
who gives her in marriage, 1,200 cowries, and the ceremony 
is performed by a Mallam, who receives cowries in 
return for reading the Alfatia ; 500 cowries are distributed 
amongst the people present. 

When a man dies he is dressed in a riga and buried inside 
his own house. A ram and a he-goat are brought, and other 
villages bring 200 to 500 cowries, according to their means. 
Out of these sums 3,000 is given to the Mallam who reads the 
funeral service, and the rest, as well as corn and meat, is divided 
among the horsemen. The ceremony over, the horsemen gallop 
up and salute the dead. For forty days after the burial, cakes 
are made and distributed as alms. A dance or wasa is held 
after the burial. 

The eldest son succeeds, but a little corn and a single zanne 
are given to the widow.* 

In their old independent days they were under their own 
Chief, whose duty it was to give all legal decisions. If a man com- 
mitted assault and wounded his victim he was fined ; the wounded 
man was given a chicken cooked with medicine, which was 
supposed to restore him at once. 


The Nguzzur are a small tribe occupying the town of Gabai 
in the Gujba Division. 

They are probably an offshoot of the Kanuri and speak a 
dialect of that language, but they claim to have come from 
Ngusseri near Stambul, circ. 1580 A.D. 

They are Muhammadans. but all devout people keep a special 
pot outside the house into which water is poured every morning, 
over which a prayer is uttered, and which is then used for washing 
the person. 


Mr. J. H. C. Elder. Capt. J. ff. Hopkinson. 

The Nimalto are located in the independent Biu District 
in the Gujba Division, south-west of Bornu Province, where, 

* Also Bedde. 


together with the Tera, Hinna, Maga and Tangale, they number 
some 23,263 They are probably an aboriginal tribe connected 
with the Kanakuru.* 

" Kworianga," the district-head of Tera, to whom they 
owe allegiance, holds a fifth grade stave of office. 

The Nimalto are a pagan people. 

They own many cattle and horses, and are agriculturists. 
The men and women have separate farms, but a woman may 
be called upon to work on her husband's farm for three days 
out of the seven. During that time he supplies her with food, 
but otherwise each provides enough for his or her own require- 
ments, the woman cooking for both. The relative value per 
farm is, roughly speaking, /i los. 8d. as against i8s. 6d. Tobacco 
is a favourite crop. They only trade locally. 

The Nimalto tongue is spoken by the Tangale and has been 
adopted by practically all the Tera. It bears resemblance to 
that spoken by the Hinna. The Haussa language is generally 
understood, many of the young men having worked on the 


AUTHORITY : Capt. H. L. Norton-Traill. 

The Ningashi or Ningishi are a small group of pagans, num- 
bering some 200 in the Jemaa Emirate (Nassarawa Province), 
Their origin is unknown, but they speak a mixture of bad Haussa, 
Bassa-Komo, and Igbira, and their tribal marks point to a 
Haussa origin. 

These consist of twelve faint lines, with their apex at the 
corners of the lips continued up the temples. Crow's foot marks 
have recentty been added at the corner of the mouth for adorn- 

The head-man, fifth in succession, traces his descent to 
his great-grandfather. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. S. M. Grier. 

The Ningi are situated in the north of Bauchi Province, 
in and around the Ningi Hills, where they number some 2,000. 
In the neighbouring district of Burra they number some 1,700, 
while a small group of fifty have settled in the town of 

* Compare Tera, p. 350. 

TRIBES. 313 

Bawa in the Hill Division, Kanam. (Ningawa are also 
notified from the Jemaa Emirate, but beyond the fact that they 
were conquered by the Filane, nothing is known of them.) They 
show considerable affinity to the neighbouring Warjawa, Afawa, 
Kudawa, and particularly Butawa tribes. 

In the Ningi District, where they claim to have lived for 
many generations, the people are subject to Mallam Ningi, 
a Muhammadan of Kano origin. They form but a sixth part 
of the population. In Burra they are under a Muhammadan 
Chief of the Butawa tribe, and form rather more than a fourth 
part of the population. 

They are rapidly becoming converted to the Muhammadan 
religion, but formerly worshipped an invisible god whose voice 
might, however, be heard amongst the rocks. His chief property 
is fertility. Every four years a big religious festival is held, when 
boys of seven years and upwards are circumcised. They are 
then left in the sacred grove for a period of two months, where 
the men bring them food. On their return home, cattle, sheep, 
goats and iowls are slaughtered, and a great feast is celebrated. 

They worship the spirits of their ancestors, and believe 
that a man who was great in this world can continue to influence 
the fortune of the community throughout the years succeeding 
his death. He is honoured according to the good they enjoy. 

It is thought that certain families can take the shape of 
certain beasts, whose flesh is therefore tabu to them, as also 
that ceitain people can assume the form of animals, generally 
that of elephants. 

It is probable that the Chief was also the priest, for the head- 
men of villages sometimes performed the duties of priesthood. 

The head, i.e., the eldest male of each family or clan, settled 
all disputes, the disputants being summoned to take oath in the 
sacred groves. If the case could not be proved recourse was 
had to ordeal, when the accused brought a cock to the sacred 
grove, where it was beheaded. If it fell on its back the accused 
was acquitted, if forwards he was condemned. This same test 
was used to consult omens when the tribe was threatened with 
misfortune, on these occasions libations were made and a festival 

All property was vested in the head of the family, who arranged 
marriages, etc., paying the large dower by which a man acquired 
his wife. If a junior member of the family were to go away he 
had a right to take his wife with him, always supposing her 
to be a free woman, and a proportion of the grain, but no live- 

A widow might return to her own family, or might revert, 
as did all concubines, to the family head. Divorce was prac- 
tically unknown. 


Men were buried on their right, women on their left sides. 
The knees were drawn up and the head rested on the hand. Wakes 
were held, which in the case of an important man lasted for 
four days after death. 

The Ningi language is being abandoned in favour of Hauss 
which children are first taught. 

The use of tribal marking is dying out. They consisted of five 
vertical lines above the eye, three long vertical lines on the cheek 
and chin, broken by three horizontal lines on a level with the 
lips; there are also two short lines on the cheek at the base of 
the nose. 



Mr. D. Cator. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Ninzam occupy an area of ninety-five square miles in the 
Jemaa Division of Nassarawa Province, where they have a 
population of 4,325. There are also five villages in the 
Independent Nungu District, under Sarkin Wamba; and a group 
at Arum in the Mama District. Their origin is unknown, but 
they were conquered by the Filane and owe allegiance to the 
Sarkin Jemaa, who appointed his own man as district-head. 
Each town has its Chief, who is assisted by a Council of Elders. 

Every village has its own clearly defined boundaries, within 
which hunting rights are jealously guarded. 

Land is communal, and any man may take up unoccupie 
farm lands within his own commune without reference to anyone, 
but on his death the right of occupancy lapses to the Chief, who 
likewise inherits all property, only giving to the heirs what he 
thinks fit. 

Trespass and poaching are alike punished by fine, whilst 
a thief, together with, his whole family, is liable to slavery for 
robbery of live-stock, or of corn from a granary. 

Murder and manslaughter are atoned by the payment of 
blood-money to the value of ten slaves. 

Recourse may be had to trial by ordeal, which is regulated 
and administered ~by the chief priest. It takes the form of a 
calabash of poison; the innocent vomits and is saved, the guilty 
dies. A man of importance is allowed to send a fowl to drink 
the poison as a deputy for himself. 

TRIBES. 315 

A man who seduces a married woman is fined one goat, 
six goats being the usual marriage dower for a virgin. 

Should a woman die before she has become a mother, her 
father is obliged to return the dower. All children belong to 
their mother's first husband. 

Girls wear a number of loose strings which are passed round 
the hips and fastened at the back, some being brought between 
the legs and tucked into the girdle in front, but it is customary 
to exchange this on marriage for a bunch of leaves in front, and 
a thick stem of plaited palm fibre with a broad base behind, hung 
from two strings, vide the Kagoro, to whose apparel that of 
the Ninzam is similar. 

Three-cornered and round grass hats are worn. 
There are no distinctive tribal markings. 

As a race they are tall and athletic, though much given to 
drunkenness. They are cannibals and probably head-hunters, 
for skuDs are kept outside the house in a yard approached through 
the outer hut. On the house side of the yard is a shelter of 
matting, beneath which cooking is carried on. The huts them- 
selves are circular in shape. 

Pots with rough unfinished exteriors are made, and mats are 
woven, otherwise the people devote themselves to agriculture 
and hunting. 

Cunningly concealed pits are dug by the side of the paths 
to entrap an approaching enemy. Bows and arrows are the 
principal weapons. The heads of the latter are made of soft 
wood, sharpened to a point, which are then steeped in strophan- 
thus (a poison that maintains its efficacy for three years), 
and bound lightly on to the arrow stems, so that when the mark 
is hit the head breaks off in the victim, thereby leaving him 
exposed for a longer time to the effects of the poison before the 
missile can be extracted. The axe is also used as a weapon. 

War chants are sung during the actual fighting. 

Sickness is attributed to the malignity of wizards, who are 
in the employ of evil spirits. By the aid of the god, however, 
the guilty wizard may be detected as each case arises. He is 
seized and an attempt is made to drive out the evil spirit possessing 
him. For this purpose he is put into a tightly closed hut, where 
cotton soaked in red pepper has been placed. When quite ex- 
hausted he is taken out and beaten, but if the sick man does 
not recover, the wizard is put into a hole and pounded to death 
with the ordinary domestic pestle. 

There are remains of a duo-decimal system, everything being 
sold in dozens, but twenty is also used as a unit, a system 
followed by the Borroro and most of the neighbouring tribes. 



Mr. D. Cator. Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

The Numana tribe have a population of 11,000, and are 
situated in the Jemaa Emirate, Nassarawa Province. 

They were conquered by the Filane, and the Sarkin Jemaa 
appointed a district-head to administer them. 

It is suggested that they are akin in language and customs 
as in dress, to their neighbours the Ninzam and Mada. Lik 
them they employ the duodecimal system of counting. 



Capt. A. S. Lawrance. 

Mr. H. F. Mathews. 

The Nungu are an independent tribe, occupying an area 
of some 250 square miles in the Lafia Division of Nassarawa 

They have a population approaching 8,480 in number (this 
includes five Ninzam villages), the men being in preponderance 
over women. 

Their origin is unknown. 

There is a considerable variation in the dialects spoken, which 
contain an intermixture of Mada to the south-west, and of Mama 
to the south-east, where they adjoin these tribes. 

Like them they use the duodecimal numerical system,* 
though the influence of the alien trader is gradually causing them 
to drop the last two numerals. 

The use of tribal marks is not universal, and when adopted 
is guided by personal preference. There are, however, three 
prevailing types. 

Prior to the advent of the British the Nungu District was 
exposed to slave-raids from the converging territories of the 
Emirs of Keffi, Lafia and Jemaa, and the less strongly 
situated southern villages paid intermittent tribute to Arikia 
or Lafia mostly in slaves to avert these raids. 

In 1914 A.D. a council was created consisting of the Madaiki 
Wamba and seven village head-m.en , with Sarkin Wamba holding 
the office of president and district-head. Prior to this the tribal 
authority was vested in the heads of families, and was mainly 

Also Kwoll, Mada, Mama, Ninzam, Kibyen. 

TRIBES. 317 

religious. The whole community was responsible for the actions 
of any of their members, thus crime committed by one might 
be avenged on any of his town-fellows, but there was no regular 
system of trial or punishment. If a man stabbed or shot a 
relative of his own, it was believed that he would become a 
leper, but if he strangled him without touching the corpse this 
fate would not overtake him. 

A stranger could be murdered without this risk. If a woman 
left her husband for another man he and his friends might either 
shoot or kidnap a member of the seducer's township. 

Their religion probably embraces ancestor worship, as they 
swear by the spirits of their deceased ancestors. Each village 
has its own tsafi grove, which consists of a ring of shady trees, 
which may further be surrounded by a dry-built wall of stone, 
encircling an upright stone in the centre. The heads of enemies 
are deposited here, and all village ceremonies are held here. 
The spirit's representative attends certain festivals 'dad in a 
tightly fitting, closely-meshed net, which covers him from the 
crown of his head to his thighs he further wears a kilt of dried 
grass and porcupine quills, and long stems of grass are thrust 
through his nose and ears, projecting with peculiar effect through 
the netting. 

Women may not be present. 

Rattles, either of iron*f or of bottle-shaped calabashes 
enclosed in loose string netting, between the meshes of which 
small pieces of bone or hardwood are strung. f are bound below 
the knee on the occasion of religious dances. If one breaks the 
dance is arrested until a chicken has been sacrificed. 

Leaves of the male shea-butter tree have a peculiar signifi- 
cance. Oaths are sworn on them ; they are used as flags of truce, 
and a bunch of these leaves laid on property on the farms, or in the 
bush, will secure them against theft. 

Villages are, for the most part, situated on small plateaux at 
the summits of hills. It is sometimes necessary to carry water 
up a height of four to five hundred feet. Others are hidden in 
the kurmis. As their sense of security increases the Nungu are 
gradually beginning to move down to the plains. The compounds 
consist of closely built, circular mud-huts, some four feet apart, 
connected internally by small doorways, but on the outer side 
they are joined together by walls of mad or stone. There are, 
however, emergency exits where the wall is so loosely built 
that it may be pushed down from the interior. 

There is no open space in the compound, and granaries are 
inside the houses. These occupy the centre and vary from three 

* Also used by dancers of Sarkin Kaiama and Sarkin Borgu. 
t Similar in Mada, Mama. 


to twelve feet in 'height, the space between the granary and tl 
outer wall being used as a living room. 

The women wear loose girdles of string from which small 
aprons, six inches wide by four inches long,' made of string 
weighted by beads are appended. The centres of their upper and 
lower lips are pierced, and long pieces of grass or porcupine 
quills are inserted in the apertures. 

Both men and women pierce the 'lobes of their ears and the 
membranes of their nostrils, through which long grasses tir porcu- 
pine quills are inserted. Women sometimes vary the nose adorn- 
ment with sticks or nails of metallic tin.' The men used to, wear 
nothing but 'girdles with or without phallic bags, but they are 
now adopting the use of a loin-cloth or skin. On special occasions 
they sling the skin of a goat or sheep across one shoulder. Native 
caps, calabashes, or fibre hats are sometimes worn these latter 
are commonly, worn by youths at n'on-religious dances, but of 
a diminutive size. 

They do not shave, but gather their hair into crowns, enclosed 
by circlets of broken cowries, which pass round their foreheads 
to the back of their heads.. Thick necklaces of red string, or 
of blue- beads, are worn. They file their teeth and were once 
cannibals, but it is doubtful whether they did not confine their 
orgies to the flesh of their enemies. It is also a moot point whether 
or not they killed their captives for food. As has been seen 
they preserved the heads of their enemies. 

They smoke wooden and clay pipes, which are made locally, 
and metal pipes bought from Haussa traders. 

Their weapons are bows (of the short pagan type) and arrows. 
The shafts of these latter are made of stout grass, which, being 
lighter than the points, to some extent act as do feathers. The 
wooden ends are hardened in fire, then pointed, and are cut 
almost through half an inch above the point, so that they may 
break off in the victim. They are heavily poisoned. The 
poison is very deadly when fresh and remains good a long time. 
Iron- tipped arrows are sometimes used when hunting, but they 
are too scarce to be expended on war. 

Game-pits are dug in groups of two or three along narrow 
tracks, and are well concealed by light sticks, leaves, grass 
and earth. They are dug to a depth of ten to twenty feet and 
are some three feet six inches across. 

The community is infected with gonorrhcea, and ophthalmia 
is very common. 

Mourning for a deceased relative, is denoted by many strands 
of newly made string being worn round the neck, chest and 

Marriage is exogamous, no person being allowed to marry 
within his or her own community. 

TRIBES. 319 

Three kinds of drums are used : No. I is made from a hollowed 
tree trunk and is about five feet long. The skin is stretched 
over one'end only. The instrument is laid on its side and struck 
with the open palm. It is used for simple signalling, such as 
a call to assemble, and to mark the rhythm at dances. No. 2 is 
a cylindrical double-ended drum of varying size, which is slung 
over the shoulder, and is commonly used in courting, or by a 
deserted husband, who thus denotes to the runaway wife his 
desire that she will return to him. Some third party comments 
on his distress to her, and if she*is willing to reconsider her decision 
she sends him some trinket through the intermediary. No. 
3 is a kettledrum some fifteen inches in height and nine inches 
in diameter. It has a wooden base, comprising three massive 
feet, carved out of one piece of wood. It is laid on its side 
and struck with two curved sticks with flattened heads. The 
skins of these drums 'are stretched and 'adjusted by a series 
of pegs driven into the sides, a little below the mouth, round which 
the adjusting rope is passed in Nos. I and '2 whereas in No. 2 
the rope is passed alternately through the edge of either skin. 
Hollow reeds and wooden pipes with open stops are used at 
dances antelope horns are blown, and buffalo horns 'are shouted 
into as resonators. 



Mr. T. A, G. Budgen. Mr. E. C. Duff. 

Mr,. E. G. M. Dupigny. 

The Nupe people are distributed over the southern part 
of the Protectorate in clans that have little connection with 
each other. Probably nearly half are pagans practising different 
forms of religion, the remainder are Muhammadans. The Niger 
Province is the headquarters of the tribe, who are to be found 
in their greatest numbers in the vicinity of the Niger and Kaduna 
Rivers. They claim to be indigenous, but some authorities 
trace a connection between them and the Gabi. erstwhile in- 
habitants of Egypt'. There is a legend to the effect that a certain 
stranger, a hunter, called AbduazizL travelling from the east, 
arrived with his family at the town of Doko Daji, where In- 
settled amongst the Bini. He was given the title of Nefiu, the 
Arabic w r ord for fugitive, whence arises the corruption Nufe, 
Nupe. It is also asserted that Nupe is not so much the name 
of a tribe as of a language, and that, it may well be that the new 
comers adopted the speech of the older inhabitants, the Gwari 
or Gbari, between which and Nupe there are now only 


dialectical differences. Many words are identical ; they have 
similar custom of splitting the verb, and the main difference 
is that where the Gbari form the negative by the terminal letter 
R, the Nupe form it by M. It was at Nupiko where the Kaduna 
flows into the Niger, that Edigi first consolidated the clans 
under one Chief and founded the Nupe Kingdom (vide 
History of the Niger Province). It was from that region 
Rabba, that those Nupe came who now inhabit the upper 
reaches of the Niger in Kontagora and Borgu to Yelwa and 
beyond into Sokoto Province, where their tribal marks consist 
of two deep scars on either side of the nose. From this northerly 
point they follow the river down through Ilorin Province and 
Kabba, though here Egga is the only place where they are of 
pure race, as elsewhere they have intermarried f reel y with neigh- 
bouring tribes. These Egga Nupe migrated there from Bida. 
There are also settlements of Nupe right up the Benue as far 
as the Ribado Division of Yola, for they are a great trading 
people and take advantage of the markets on the waterways. 
There are 1,047 m Nassarawa Emirate; elsewhere they have 
not been censussed. 

The distinctive tribal mark is a curved line from the bridge 
of the nose to the corner of the mouth, on the right-hand side of 
the face. 

The Nupe population of Agaie number 24,335, and of Lapai 

The size of the clan may very roughly be assessed at over 
100,000 in the Niger Province. 

The Emir was chosen from one of the three royal families, 
Osuman Zaki, Masaba, and Umaru Majigi, all descendants of 
the Filane founder of the dynasty -Mallam Danyo, each of 
the three families in succession having the right to rule the 
clan. The elders would meet together and discuss who was 
likely to make the best Chief, and having chosen would consult 
the Mallamai as to the propriety of their selection. As some 
amongst the Mallamai claimed the gift of foreknowledge, their 
advice was almost invariably followed. Delay was avoided 
as far as possible, because in the interval between the death 
of the Nupe King and the appointment of his successor (which 
might not be till after the burial), no law could be enforced. 
If any crime were committed during that period the perpetrator 
was safe even from subsequent punishment, and any prisoner 
who escaped might not be recaptured. 

Thus on the occasion of the death of Muhammadu in 1916, 
which occurred at nine in the- evening, his wife performed the 
last rites before his death was known outside the compound, 
and he was buried at 3 a.m. in his house, the public not being 
acquainted of the fact till later in the day. 

TRIBES. 321 

The successor's initiatory act is to go to the tombs of each 
of his predecessors, where he offers prayer at the head of his 
people. He would have three compounds to visit, the burial place 
of each of the three family branches, one sepulchre being in 
his own palace, as the chief resides in his own family mansion. 

The Nupe King, entitled Etsu in pre-Filane days, now Emir 
of Bida, has been a Muhammadan for some centuries and Koranic 
law is, therefore, observed, but as it has been modified since 
the advent of the British the following relates to the system 
of punishment in vogue before that time. All cases were then, 
as now, decided by the Alkali in court, and he informed the Emir 
of all important sentences. If there were doubt as to the guilt 
of the accused the Alkali would sometimes summon a Mallam 
with the gift of second sight to assist him, but he would never 
fail to come to a decision. Boys under seventeen were not 
considered adult, and were riot subject to courts of law, but 
were punished at home by their fathers or guardians and the 
same applied to unmarried women. 

The theft of any food stuff eaten on the spot was considered 
no offence, but if any objects worth 1,250 cowries (=6d.) or more 
were stolen the thief had his hand cut off, for a second offence 
his foot, for a third offence his second hand, for a fourth, his 
second foot. It is so much recognised as a brand, that an innocent 
man who has to have his hand amputated always has it done 
at the elbow. If, however, there were extenuating circumstances, 
if it was a first offence, and the man pleaded guilty, he might be 
let off altogether, or imprisoned. Theft between husband and 
wife is considered no offence. If the value of goods taken was 
10,000 cowries or more his head was cut off, and the same punish- 
ment was inflicted for highway robbery with violence. If no 
bodily hurt were done, imprisonment was substituted for any 
term up to four years. 

For assault a fine of 50,000 cowries was levied. 

For resisting a dogarai, or officer of the Alkali's court, a fine 
of 100,000 cowries upwards was imposed. 

Injudicious talk was punished by cutting off the mouth and 

Murder was punished by decapitation. 

Sentences of death were carried out by dogarai, who buried 
the bodies, unless the families sent for them. 

Adultery was heavily punished in old days, but not now. 
Married women were liable to law. They suffered imprisonment 
inside the Alkali's compound, in compliance with Muhammadan 
decorum, and a murderess was put in a pit (in this compound), 
from which her head alone emerged, and was kept there without 
food or water till she died, for a woman might not be killed I 
There were but few women criminals, as crime is ground for 
divorce, and it is hard for a criminal to get another husband. 


A woman may equally divorce her husband for crime, or she 
may get special permission from the Court to marry someone 
else, if he consents, for the period for which her husband is 
imprisoned. She cannot obtain divorce on any other ground 
except that of desertion for three years, or failure to keep her. 
A man can obtain it for other causes, but rarely does so without 
good cause, for he loses all the dower money he has paid for 
his wife. Remarriage is permitted to both sexes after a three 
months' interval. 

Marriage plays an important part in the social life of the 
Nupe and is de rigueur for both sexes. Until a man has married 
a virgin with due ceremony, he is accounted a nobody and his 
fellows will neither speak with him nor listen to him. No one 
will bury an unmarried woman, even though she be a widow. 
After much delay this degrading duty devolved upon the dogarai, 
and now upon Government labourers. 

The would-be bridegroom calls three times upon the girl's 
parents, each time bringing with him some small present for 
the father, mother and girl, and then makes known his intentions. 
The girl's consent has to be obtained, and the parents generally 
tell him to go and ask her, without mentioning that he has been 
first to them. If she agrees she tells him to go to her people and 
thus it is arranged. Indeed it is sometimes she who first suggests 
to her father whom she would like to marry and he takes the 
necessary steps. The engagement is formally recognised when 
the suitor gives I2s. 6d. in money and two calabashes of kola 
nuts to the father, and 75. 6d. in money and one calabash of 
kola nuts to the mother, for them to distribute amongst the 
male and female members of their family respectively. From 
this time on the pretendant must work on his father-in-law's 
farm or house, together with his friends, two or three times 
a year, and every big Salla he gives his bride 55. worth of clothes 
and 2s. to plait her hair. This may last for some years, as a 
boy may be betrothed at the age of ten or twelve and a girl at 
five or seven. These early engagements are, however, considered 
undesirable, and the yearly cost to the groom effectually tends 
to discourage them. A careful count is kept of all that he gives, 
so that it may be returned if the girl should ultimately refuse 
to consummate the marriage. Once they are engaged the boy 
and girl may not play together, which up to the time of marriage 
they may do with anyone else. In fact a boy and girl may declare 
themselves " saranchi," or great friends, and they are allowed 
to go to each other's houses until one or other of them marries. 

When the time for consummating a marriage has come the 
groom gives his wife three cloths and a handkerchief, at a minimum 
value of 305., and if she does not like those he has selected, she 
returns them and he must send others till she is satisfied. At 
the same time he gives her parents 2 ios., which they spend on 

TRIBES. 323 

an outfit for their daughter, pots and pans, mats, etc. A rich 
man gives something under 4, and spends perhaps as much as 
9 or 10 on cloths. If he is unable to raise all this money at 
once an arrangement can be made in the Alkali's Court, by which 
he is bound over to make up the deficit within a given time, and 
so long always as he gives his wife 1,250 cowries, value 6d. 
for her first chop money, they may marry at once. 

The dowry is sometimes remitted in cases where the father- 
in-law can afford to support the young couple, or a man may 
marrv his first cousin without payment. Where no dower is 
given the marriage is known as " salaka." 

Girls do not marry as a rule before they are sixteen or seventeen 
and often not till they are twenty, men when they are eighteen 
or twenty, or later, according to their wealth. The customs 
of the aboriginal pagan Nupe* differ slightly. The betrothal 
be ng arranged by the heads of the respective families, and when 
it is agreed upon, the boy's guardian assembles the whole family 
and names the bride in their presence and in that of the prospective 
groom. All presents are given through the guardian, whom 
the suitor accompanies on his visits to the bride's people, but 
he does not see the bride herself. A week before the marriage 
is consummated both parties remain in their houses, the groom 
to receive the salutations of his friends, the bride to stain her 
hands and feet with henna, and to powder her face and body 
with camwood. On the wedding day the suitor's friends escort 
him to the hut of his betrothed, where they talk, but she sits 
silent until the groom gives her presents/ which is a signal for 
the departure of his friends. When the groom emerges he pro- 
claims whether or not he has found his bride chaste. A feast 
follows, and the groom is escorted back to his house by his friends, 
where he is followed later by his bride, who is attended by women 
carrying her outfit. The couple live together in one hut until 
she conceives, when her husband builds himself another house. 

The wedding festivities for a virgin are carried on for a week, 
day and night. For the first three days they take place in her 
own people's house , and on the fourth day she goes to her husband's 
house, where the feasting continues for another four days and 
four nights. Seven days of seclusion follow, when neither man 
nor wife may be seen , and after this he is allowed the full honours 
of a husband. The bride, however, may not go out till three 
months have elapsed. 

The ceremony is of a very much humbler description for 
a second marriage. 

In the Gurara District of Nupe (Lapai Emirate), a curious 
custom exists, which, with minor modifications is practised 

*Sapke and Mokwa. The differences only have been mentioned, not 
the similarities. 


as far east as Awtun (Ekiti), and from Yagba District to Ilorin. 
*" A wealthy woman trader would sometimes go through the 
form of marriage with one or more young women reputed virgins. 
These ' wives ' she would send out to various neighbouring 
villages, ostensibly trading. When, in the expected course of 
events, these ' wives ' formed illicit attachments, a careful 
note was made of the resultant progeny. When the children 
had reached five or six years, or more, they were claimed by 
the woman ' husband ' as her children, based on the legal 
fiction of all legal wives' children being the children of the legal 
' father.' In almost every case, the real father compounded with 
the legal ' father,' in the customary value of the child. The 
profit to the woman capitalist was exceedingly great. 

" This custom is not confined to the Pagan, nor to the female 
sex. Many a reputed Mussulman (Bida-Pategi) will allow his 
wife to go on three and four years' trading expeditions, fully 
cognisant of the inevitable results. In due time he will apply 
for the custody of the children, which are legally his until his 
wife has sued for and obtained a legal divorce, which last is 
seldom done, owing (in Nupe and Ilorin generally) to the high 
' dowry ' money claimed. If the case is settled out of Court, 
the husband enjoys substantial profits. On the other hand, if 
the wife and children return to him , which is seldom nowadays, 
he can always obtain a respectable ' dower ' from the suitors 
to the girl children. As to the boys, he finds every use for them 
on his farm." 

The first wife is the head one, and advises the other women on 
all household and commercial matters, and they have to apply 
to her for permission to leave the compound. Each wife has 
her own hut, but all the women have their meals together, when 
they sit round the pot in a circle, in strict order of precedence, 
counting from the right hand of the first wife . Next her is the second 
wife, next her the third wife, next her the fourth wife, then come 
their daughters and foster-daughters in order of age, dependants 
and slaves. The first wife helps herself and passes the pot round 
the table, hands only being used she alone may sit upright, 
while the others are obliged to crouch in her presence. 

There are three meals in the day, at 7 a.m., mid-day, and sun- 
down , each meal consisting of one dish only . For breakfast they have 
" fura," a sort of porridge, with cow's milk where it is obtainable 
(The Nupe will not drink goat's milk, though they eat its flesh). 
At noon the poorer people have porridge again, the well-to-do 
have guinea-corn, or rice, mixed with soup. Supper is 
the principal meal, when soup is made with guinea-corn or rice, 
and any meat or fish that may be available. 

* Mr. E. C. Duff. 

TRIBES. 325 

The men eat together in a similar way, but apart from the 
women, and tiny boys may feed with either. Any snacks such 
as honey-cakes, or fruit, are eaten at odd times in the day, and 
water is always drunk ?.fter meals, not at them. Eggs were 
never eaten, but the practice of doing so is gradually creeping in. 

In the ordinary routine of life people get up at 4 or 5 a.m., 
observe salla, and go about their respective avocations 
which, with a two hours' interval at mid-day, they pursue until 
6 p.m. when they again make salla and have their evening meal. 
This ended, the children, boys and girls alike, go and dance in 
the market, from which they are retrieved by their elders, with 
some difficulty, about 9 p.m. and sent to bed. The men pay 
each other visits, and sit talking in groups of three or four till 
about ii p.m., or on bright nights as long as the moon is up. 
Women do the same, but in their own compounds. They do 
not pay many visits, but go to see their mothers once every 
month and their sisters more rarely. Their husbands encourage 
friendship between their wives and the wive? of th^ir friends. 
If a man is at home when his wife receives a visitor he salutes 
her and goes out, and when he goes to visit his friend he goes 
in to salute the women of the house, and then either sits outside 
with his friend or goes to his hut. A man is expected to call 
on his parents-in-law every Friday, the Muhammadan holiday, 
but is never accompanied by his wife, unless it is to accuse her 
of some ill deed. 

The incoming of the Muhammadan New Year is a time for 
great rejoicing. On New Year's Eve everyone eats as much as 
he or she can hold, and the poor can ask for a meal from anyone. 
Next day they make prayer, and everyone contributes in alms 
according to his means, with a minimum of a hundred cowries, 
which the Mallams distribute amongst the needy. A Mallam 
then foretells events of general interest for the coming year, when 
the rains will come, and whether they will be heavy or light, the 
success of the crops, whether there will be much sickness and 
in what months, whether there will be fertility amongst the 
stock, and amongst the people, and the best month for the purposes, 
etc. It is a day for visiting amongst the grown-ups, and calls 
are made on all persons of importance. On their return from 
prayer the children play a game. They may raid the houses 
of any uncle or aunt, grandparent, or one following the same 
trade as their father, and take anything they can lay hands on, 
unless and up to the time the person raided gives each child 
twenty cowries. The elders may not defend their own property, 
but the children of the household do, and battles are waged 
between the young people. This custom is dying out where there 
are white men. 

Other games played by the children are hide-and-seek and 
king-of-the-castle, but they rarely have toys, and never balls. 


The Nupe women have many occupations besides the ordinary 
household duties. Her obligations as a wife are to prepare the 
food, and bring firewood and water. They spin, weave, cook 
little cakes for the market, or practise hair-dressing, a lucrative 
profession, for a reputed coiffeuse receives 6d. to is. a head, 
according to the elaboration of the dressing, though no client 
presents herself more than once every moon. There are also 
women doctors, who attend both male and female patients, and 
receive the same fees that a man doctor would do. The Nupe 
women are above all things traders, and will often travel great 
distances on this behest. On these occasions they are accompanied 
by their husbands, but the first wife is left at home by right of 
her position. Usually she prefers so to remain ; if she rebels, her 
husband asks her not to come on account of the loss of dignity, 
but if she persists he yields. In the early days of her married 
life, before there are other wives and dependants, she may trade 
in the neighbourhood three months after her wedding, and when 
there are two wives the elder will often take it in turns to go 
out with the younger. At no time may she leave the compound, 
however, without her husband's permission. 

The women do a good deal of out-door work. They collect 
the produce of all trees, except palm-oil and kola trees, the former 
of which were a reserve of the Emirs, but are now divided between 
the occupier and the Chief of the town, and the latter are kept 
by the men. These they may sell for their own benefit, after 
first deducting in every case what will be required by the house- 
hold throughout the year. Women also cultivate and sell ground- 
nuts and all root-crops, such as ochro, which do not require 
transplanting. Men do all transplanting and, therefore, own 
such crops as cassava, sweet potatoes, onions, etc., but it is 
the women who have the right to sell them, and as they usually 
keep a commission of 25 per cent, it is a valuable right. If, 
however, a man finds he is being given unusually high prices 
he rewards his wife by a liberal gift of cloth. It is the man who 
tends and owns all grain and, therefore, sells it for himself, 
but he is thought ill of if he does not first consult his wives as to 
the price he is to accept for it. They sow the corn and help to 
garner it after it is reaped, and each woman has charge of so 
many bundles, as to the sale of which she must be consulted. 
She expects some small present for her trouble. 

When a household becomes rich, that is to say when their 
property, if sold, would realise 20 to 40, a number of people 
of both sexes ask leave to become their dependants. The master 
of the house will take no children without the consent of their 
parents, but a poor man will frequently desire his protection 
for them. They are then treated as children of the house, they 
are given food and clothes, and when the time for marriage 
comes the master of the house provides the necessary money. 

TRIBES. 327 

They are then turned out of the house, but are allowed to live 
in the vicinity, and continue to receive food and protection 
in return for whatever work is required of them. There are 
dependants of both sexes, and the unambitious often prefer to 
spend their whole lives in this manner. Slaves were treated in 
much the same manner, and children born in captivity were 
accounted free. 

Motherhood is the great desire of the women, and every New 
Year the Mallams proclaim which will be the best months in 
that year for child-bearing. They have a strong belief in a 
medicine-man called " Soba," who lives in the bush at Lemo, 
between Bida and Zungeru, and who gives medicines to produce 
fertility. He is seldom to be found in person, but there are 
guardians in the bush who act as intermediaries. 

When a child is born it is nourished on water, in which the 
leaves of the Aduruku tree (or the bark and leaves of some seven 
to ten different kinds of trees, the mixture is termed 
" dauri ") have been boiled for three to seven days. It 
is poured into their mouths. This continues if the mother's 
milk is not good, for infants are never given the milk 
of any animal. After seven days the child is named, 
and both boys and girls are called after their father and after 
his father, though their first name be different. They are seldom 
called after their mother. The aboriginal custom is somewhat 
different, a girl being named on the eighth, a boy on the ninth 
day after birth. All the relatives assemble after dawn, certain 
roots are placed in a pot and beer poured over them. Some 
is poured as a libation on the ground, the head of the family 
then drinks some himself, conjuring the good spirit of medicine 
to protect the child's life, which he designates by name. The 
guests then consume two pots of beer, and a feast is held with the 
usual dancing, drumming and singing. 

Boys are circumcised by the barber at the age of six or seven, 
after which they commence working on the farms. When they 
approach the age of puberty they leave their parents' house, 
and build themselves a separate hut.* 

The eldest child, whether boy or girl, is hated by its parents; 
they will not look at it, and a large percentage die of neglect. 
They never call it anything individual, only " boy " or "' girl," 
and the mother would refuse to feed it but that her husband's 
parents come and live with her for three months to see that she 
fulfils that duty. Sometimes they take the baby away with 
them and give it to some wet-nurse, but in no case is the first- 
born left with its parents after it is wearied. The grandfather 
always takes it . It has been asserted that the mother will not 
suckle her first-born child because her milk is unwholesome. 

* Sapke and Mokwa. 


This is tested by an ant (chinaka) being placed therein, am 
if it drowns the child is given to a wet-nurse and the mother 
is medically treated. This custom is particularly prevalent 
amongst riverain Nupe. 

Subsequent children are thoroughly spoilt until they reach 
the age of three or four years when, amongst the well-to-do, at 
all events, the mother is thought to be too fond to make a good 
guardian. Girls are usually weaned at the ag^ of three years, 
boys not until they are four. The children may, therefore, be 
sent right away to a boarding school for some ten years, or 
the relations may take them to a day school, arranging their 
marriages, and in fact divorcing them so entirely from their own 
parents that the only connection left is inheritance. If the 
grandfather is alive he distributes the children amongst their 
male uncles and aunts, generally in order of seniority. They call 
them father and mother, and when grown-up would visit them 
and give them money before going to their true parents. The 
foster-parents would equally go to their foster children for support 
in their old age, and only to their own children in the last resort. 

A successful Mallam will have a school containing fifty or 
sixty children, amongst whom he keeps up a rigid discipline 
by means of the rod, and if a child attempts to run away it is 
put into leg-irons. There are whole holidays on Thursdays 
and Fridays, but on working days the hours are 4 to 6 and 
7 to ii a.m., and 2 to 4 and 7 to 8 p.m. Day scholars 
miss the first two hours. The children learn the Koran, 
and reading and writing in Arabic characters, then their 
own language, and then Haussa; sewing, and at a later stage 
sums. Boys and girls work and play together, but when girls 
reach a marriageable age they are taught by the Mallam's wives. 
There are no regular holidays, and children remain for some ten 
years without a break. When they leave the school the Mallam 
receives a fee of 20,000 cowries, in addition to which there may 
or may not be complimentary presents given. The young scholar, 
on reaching home, goes to salute the Sarki and all elders, and 
receives a dash from each to celebrate the home-coming. 

The same customs that apply to the commoner apply to the 
Chiefs and Emirs. His children are also sent to school, and he 
never keeps his first-born. In questions of marriage it is he 
who takes the first step, and he will often give his daughters in 
marriage to the merest talaka, and may even marry a peasant 
girl himself without incurring reproach. 

The Emir of Bida keeps up elaborate state. He sends food to 
all visitors to his capital and provides them with accommodation. 
He summons Chiefs to audiences, and holds a levee in the palace 
courtyard every Friday morning between 7 and 8 a.m., where all 
or any of his subjects assemble to salute him, but he does 
not enter into conversation with anyone then. 

TRIBES. 329 

He may go out to war himself, but more often puts the 
operations under the War-Chief, Sarkin Yaki, who is himself 
advised by the Wari-Yaki, a man chosen by the Mallamai for 
this purpose, and often of so humble a position that the warriors 
do not know who he is. The Sarkin Yaki, however, obeys him 
invariably, and indeed it is the Mallamai who direct when and 
where an attack should be delivered or a retreat made. If the 
Sarkin Yaki should be killed in war, the army retires to await 
another appointment by the Emir. It was the custom for the 
two eldest daughters of the Sarkin Nupe to go to war, each 
arrayed in two thick rigas, a cummerbund, and carrying a sword 
and spear. They had large followings, for they gave a big pro- 
portion of the spoils to their retinue, but they followed the 
direction of the Sarkin Yaki. No woman was allowed to accom- 
pany them into battle, but many of the sex were discontented 
with the restriction and, in consequence, the practice became 
unpopular amongst the Nupe men. The general feeling became 
so strong that on the death of the Chief, Umoru Majigi, in 1884, 
these ladies were no longer allowed to go out to war. Their 
names were Atiba and Wodiko, names invariably given to the 
Chief's two eldest daughters. In other respects they lived 
ordinarily, and were married, but their husbands would never 
fight in the same war with their wives. Each Chieftain brings 
his following, and there are bodies of horsemen and footmen, 
the former armed with spears, the latter with bows and arrows. 
A war-camp is formed some seven to ten miles from where 
hostilities are expected to take place, and here the stores and 
women are left. The Mallamai and a large number of civilian 
hangers-on advance to the verge of the fight, and wait till success 
is attained, when they dash in to secure a share of the spoil, the 
Mallamai giving the word when it is safe to do so. Needless to 
say their presence is often resented. Envoys may be sent from 
one army to another in perfect safety, protected by the waving 
of a white flag, or of green branches; they generally dress in 
white for additional surety. 

Before any campaign is undertaken the Emir consults a 
Mallam gifted with the power of prophecy, and he says whether the 
results would be good or bad. A hundred years ago the advent 
of a fair race from the west was foretold by the prophets in a 
MS. still extant, and resistance to their arms was forbidden. 
That was why the present Emir of Bida and his family, together 
with all the Mallamai, refused to come out against the British. 
There are some prophets who are above worldly interest and 
desire, and others who give advice for 1,000 cowries, or perhaps 
sixpence. It is a special art in which they receive instruction as 
youths, and there are books on the subject. The Mallams are 
consulted on such questions as marriage, trade ventures, and 
sickness. They look on the ground for about ten minutes and 


sometimes consult a book before speaking ; if it concerns anyone 
who is absent and unknown to the Mallam, the questioner lays 
his hand on the ground, at which the Mallam gazes. 

In the case of illness the Is-sabi is consulted, as if death is 
certain it would be mere waste to spend money on doctors and 
on medicine, as is otherwise done. 

Some doctors have acquired great reputations, and people 
travel long distances to consult them. As they are not paid unless 
they effect a cure, they will not undertake hopeless cases. 

When a man dies he is buried in the compound in a rectangular- 
shaped grave, which has three depths, one within the other. The 
body, which is wrapped in a large new cloth, is laid on a mat 
on one side in the deepest part, the centre, facing eastwards; 
wood is placed over it to prevent the earth touching the corpse. 
Some of the more important men have a special burial-room in 
their compound, but with this exception it is the same for men, 
women, and children. Those who die of small-pox or who commit 
suicide are, however, taken out and thrown into the bush by 
dogarai, for no one else will touch them. If a body is being 
carried home it may never be laid down, so a large number 
of bearers are provided to relieve one another. The pagan 
Nupe pour beer upon the grave, and offer prayers to the spirits.* 

For seven days after a death the brothers, sons, daughters, 
and other near relations and friends, come and sit with the 
bereaved principal from six in the morning till six in the evening. 
Dirty , white clothes constitute mourning apparel, and this is 
worn for children, parents and spouse. 

A widower may go out after seven days and work a little, 
but not much till forty days have elapsed, when he may resume 
his ordinary habits, though he continues to wear white for five 
months. Widows, however, remain shut up in the compound 
for five months, during which time they may not dress their 
hair, or remove their sandals, or see any man. This over they 
remarry, and can exercise their own choice as to a groom, being 
allowed forty days within which to make their arrangements. 
By the end of this time the law of the country insists on marriage, 
an old woman getting an old husband, for no one will bury an 
unmarried woman and, of course, she has no home where she 
has a right to lie. It is a terror to the widows during their 
enforced five months of singleness lest they may fall ill or 
die, for even sickness, following so hard on the tragedy of 
death, would be considered a sign of evil, and possibly witch- 
dom, so the woman would find difficulty in securing another 

The heirs are responsible for all debts incurred by the deceased, 
whose property is divided between his eldest son, his other 

*Sapke and Mokwa. 

TRIBES. 331 

sons, his whole brothers, and his daughters in a fixed and 
decreasing proportion. If the children are infants the money is 
held in trust for them by the brothers of the deceased. A woman's 
money is inherited in the same way, but either sex may leave 
their money as they choose, by declaring their wishes in the 
presence of a large number of responsible witnesses. If there 
is no family, a woman may inherit from her husband, and in 
some cases where there are no children, and she is known to have 
been a specially good wife, the brothers of the deceased forego 
their right in her favour. If she has no children her property 
goes to her husband. In no case does an illegitimate child 

In old times the people did not dare live outside walled 
villages, but the neighbouring lands were apportioned by the 
village-head amongst the various heads of families, according 
to the amount he and his could beneficially occupy. The family 
head in his turn granted the right of occupancy to individuals 
of his family, and, as no tree was of value before the virgin 
forest was cleared, each occupant had also the right to the sylvan 
produce of his land. As, however, virgin forest diminished and 
land became less plentiful, the heads reserved the use of the 
oil-palm to themselves, though at one time they held it in trust 
for the Emir. 

Land cannot be sold, but it may be redistributed either on 
the migration of the holder, or on the extinction of the whole 
family. The village-head has a right to ask the family-head 
to give him back some land that he may grant it to a new comer, 
always supposing that this land is not at the time fully occupied. 
The right of occupancy passes on the death of the holder to 
the successive head of the family. 

Amongst the pagan Nupe* the guardian spirit " Gunu " 
is worshipped. Sheep, dogs and fowls are sacrificed in his honour, 
their blood being poured out as a libation to him, whilst their 
flesh is consumed by the worshippers. Every eleven months 
the men go to his altar, beneath which sacred relics have been 
buried since time immemorial, where they kneel down in a wide 
circle, joining hands, and bowing their foreheads to the ground. 
The elders address the spirit, and a feast and special dance 
follows. Other festivals are held at harvest time, and on the 
appointment of a new head-man, each village head-man being 
also village priest. There is a semi-religious institution called 
' Ndakogboiya." A meeting is held at the chief's house, when 
a man may complain of his wife's conduct and beg that she 
may be taken to task, together with any other ill-doer. A man 
then mounts on stilts, and appears amongst the people after 
dark, proclaiming their evil deeds, and receiving propitiatory 

* Sapke and Mokwa. 



offerings of goats and fowls. The " Ndakogboiya " is, however, 
losing its efficacy, and indeed Muhammadanism is rapidly replacing 
the ancient faith. 

The influence of the Nupe is great, as may be seen from the 
following lists of septs who speak the Nupe language, or a dialect 
thereof, and are probably of Nupe origin. These dialects are 
intelligible to all Nupe. The first three mentioned were by far 
the largest and most important. 

1. Pateji. 

2. Kupa. 

3. Baedeji.* 

4. Kede. 

5. Bangawa.f 

6. Bata. 

7. Batachi. 

8. Bini. 

9. Dibo.J 

10. Duchu. 

11. Ebe. 

12. Etsu. 

13. Kakanda.f 

14. Kusopa. 

15. Zumbufu. 

16. Kutegi. 

17. Enegi, 

18. Gbachi. 

19. Ganagana.J 

The Nupe of Pateji are situated in Ilorin Province. They are 
the descendants of the original Nupe Sarakuna, who are now 
scattered all over the country and are called " Agabi," the 
name for their distinctive mark of one broad scar on each side 
of the nose (on the cheek). The custom of cicatrization has 
become optional. 

The Nupe of Kupa inhabit the Agbaja District of Kabba 
Province ; there are also a few in the Bunu District. Their 
distinctive mark is two lines on each side of the face, from the 
temple to the lip ; within these are a series of small cuts. Their 
population number some 3,600. Their name is said to be a 
contraction of ' Oku-pari " (= canoe-men of Oku), a river in 
Kontagora Province. Their weapons are flint locks and spears, 
arrows only being used in small numbers. 

The Kede are a riverain section who have spread along the 
river banks in the Niger and Ilorin Provinces. The word " Kede " 
signifies ' Dan Sarki," and is connected with a tradition that 
dates back to the sixteenth century, circ. 1505 A.D., when Edigi, 
who was travelling up the river, received assistance with his 
canoe from a man whom he found seated upon a stone fishing, 
gowned in two robes, one black, the other white. Edigi, when 
he had established himself as King, conferred upon this man 
the title of Kuta (which means the man who wears gowns of 
black and white). One of the Kuta's salutions is ' takun " 

*The Baedeji are of Yoruba extraction, though, having settled in 
Nupe territory at Jebba, they have adopted the Nupe language. 

f Their Nupe origin is disputed. 

I The Dibo, Ganagana and Kakanda are sometimes claimed as Nupe, 
but their languages are different, and it is unlikely that their connection is 
closer than that induced by neighbourhood. 

Naturalised Nupe. 

TRIBES. 333 

(a stone) , in commemoration of the legend. Only a man who lives 
by the river and is a canoe-man can be a Kede. The men never 
marry outside the clan, though the women will sometimes do 
so. They keep very much to themselves, and no stranger was 
permitted to enter the town of Pojo, not even the Emir of Bida, 
whose suzerainty they recognised. 

They are pagans and pray to gods or departed spirits in 
the rivers. Many hundreds of men will enter the water together 
and gaze into it, for hours and even days together, while they 
make prayer. They say that a race of people inhabit the rivers, 
that they are very fine people, but small, and that they have 
power over all things in the water. The Kede are great swimmers, 
and can see things in the water that are hidden from other men. 
For instance, a girl at Egga, who was bathing in the early morn- 
ing, in company with many others, was caught in an eddy and 
disappeared. People searched for her body all day, but they could 
not find it. They summoned a Kede from Pojo. He arrived the 
following morning and brought her body to the surface in half 
an hour. Her hands and feet were locked, so that no one could 
unclench them, and her mouth was tightly shut. She was laid 
in a hut and the people gathered round her and mourned her, 
for they believed her to be dead. The Kede man told them that 
she was not dead, and he had her carried to his house, where he 
gave her medicines, and in three days she was well. 

The Bangawa are a riverain section, practising the trade 
of canoe-men and fishermen in the Bida Emirate. Their Nupe 
origin is disputed. 

There is a Haussa tribe of the same name, who came from 
Katsina, but it is unlikely that there is any connection between 
them and the Nupe off-set. 

In Lapai Emirate the Bata tribe number some 5,000 to 
6,000. They are an agricultural people and collect sylvan produce, 
i.e., shea-nuts and palm kernels, from which they extract oil. 
The only industry extensively practised is weaving. Their 
vSarakuna form a judicial council, presided over by a head-man, 
which is directly responsible to the Emir. 

The Batachi are a riverain section in the Bida Emirate. 
The name means " talaka," and is descriptive of their social 
position towards the Nupe. 

The Bini section are the aboriginal occupants of Bida. Their 
other principal towns are Doko, Eyagi, Tua, Pichi and Wuya. 
The name Bini signifies, " he who opens his mouth fully to 
speak the truth." They are a pagan race, and practised their 
rites on the Hill of Tua some three or four miles out of Bida town. 
The sacrifice of a black ox, etc., was part of the formula, and 
the dead were buried in pots at the base of the hill. These 
practices were put an end to by the father of the present Emir 
of Bida. The Bini are fast dying out. There are two sub-sections, 


the Isaji, who are now distributed over the Pateji Division of 
Ilorin Province, Kontagora Province, and the Bida Emirate, 
having been dispersed at the beginning of the nineteenth century 
from G'bara (now Jimunli) ; and the Gwagbaji who fled from 
Jengi near Rabba, north to Kontagora Province on the Filane 
aggression. They are now to be found in the Zuguma District, 
in Yelwa north-west of N'Gaski, and in the Bussa District below 
Wawa. They are described as a very dark race, good looking 
and well built. 

The tribal marks consist of a scar on one cheek, stretching 
from the nose to the corner of the mouth. Some people, in 
addition, wear three small cuts at each corner of the mouth, and 
three small cuts on the chin. They practise circumcision. 

The Nupe of Duchu, a town south of the Kaduna river, on 
the western angle of the Bako and Niger rivers, are talakawa 
to the Nupe. They are pagans and hold the " echu" snake 
(probably a python) as sacred. This snake is said to emerge 
from the bush whenever it is wanted, which is always on the 
birth of a child, for a mother may not suckle her infant until the 
" echu " has touched her breasts. 

The Ebe are settled in the Yelwa District of Kontagora, 
but are now almost extinct. They speak Haussa, as well as 
a dialect of Nupe. They practise circumcision. Their tribal 
mark is a scar on each cheek from the nose to the corner of the 

Etsu is the name given to a group of Gboda, Kupari, and 
Gbangiri from Kukuruku (Kabba Province), and Yoruba, who 
settled in the Sapke District and built the town of Etsu, becoming 
naturalised Nupe. 

" Kuso " is the Nupe word for a kola plantation and 
" Kusopa " means ' the man who guards the kola trees." 
They live in the Labohzi District, an area celebrated for its 
kola trees, and a place where palm-oil flourishes, in the south- 
west of the province. They are pagans. They believe that each 
individual lives four times, in different existences of which 
this is the second. They believe that this life is an improvement 
on the last, where all people were very big and thickly made. 
In the next life they believe that people will be very tall, but thin, 
and in the fourth and last life that they will be tiny people, 
only one or two feet in height. This fourth phase comes at the 
end of the world when everybody has died, and it is regarded as 
a heaven, but it is not permanent, being followed by extinction. 
It is only the good people who can attain to it, as the wicked 
become bush-beasts. It is not clear whether they believe that 
the soul is immediately translated to the succeeding sphere or 
not, but they appear to think that a period of death comes 
between each phase. 

TRIBES. 335 

In this world they sacrifice to a god called Dako-Gwoya, 
who takes visible form after harvest, when a big feast is held 
and much beer is drunk. He has the appearance of a man, but 
is higher than a double-storeyed house. He speaks and tells 
the people what to do in business and social matters, but though 
the women may hear him they may not see him. 

The Nupe of Zumbufu (on the Niger) are of mixed blood, 
having intermarried freely with the Yoruba. Zumbufu was 
founded by a hunter early in the nineteenth century, who came 
from the Lafiaji District, but they were never tributary to any 
but the Bini of Bida. They were incorporated in the Share 
District of Ilorin Province in 1910. They too are pagans and 
worship a god called Bakoboya, who is recognised as far away 
as Padda in the Pategi Division, an evil spirit who brings sickness 
and famine. He appears in visible forms at festivals, in the guise 
(with the aid of a ten foot pole) of a very tall man. His repre- 
sentative dances round the town, surrounded by the head-men 
of Zumbufu, and throughout the dance they beat each other 
violently, but are said to feel no pain. 

The inhabitants of Kutegi, Enegi, and Gbachi, are immigrants 
from Bornu. They still wear the Kanuri tribal marks, but they 
have adopted the Nupe language. 


AUTHORITY : Capt. F. Byng-Hall. 

The Ogugu have a population of some 12,815, in the eastern 
division of Bassa Province. They are administered by a Kanawa 
Chief introduced by the British Government. 

They are farmers and potters. 

The women wear a cloth wrapped round their bodies, and 
the men wear a cloth, one end of which is passed over the shoulder. 

The tribal weapon is the bow and poisoned arrows. 

They speak an individual language. 

Their religion comprises the use of images and they have a 
profound belief in witchcraft. 


The Paka are a small pagan community who live on the 
plains of Bauchi Emirate north of Badiko. 


The Pakara inhabit the Bukuru District of Bauchi Province, 
They have a population of 740. 


The Piri are situated partly in the south-east of Gombe, and 
partly in the adjacent territory of the independent pagan division 
of Yola. They inhabit the hills north of Lamurde and south 
to the borders of Bashamma. 

They are probably related to the Tangale, Longuda, and 

They are cannibals. 

Slings are the tribal weapon. 

In Yola Province they owe allegiance to the Chief of Bashamma, 
but practically they recognise no authority but that of the local 
village head-man. 

They are a small tribe. 


The Pitti pagans are situated in the southern division of 
Zaria Emirate, where, at a rough estimate, they number some 

They are essentially farmers. They breed ponies, which they 
ride bare-backed. 

Rubber is found in the locality. 

They were first brought under control in 1907. 

These people may belong to the Rebinawa group. 



AUTHORITY : Mr. H. M. Frewen. 

The Pyemawa occupy a strip of plateau to the west of Leri, 
south of the Shere and Maigemu hills in Bauchi Emirate, where 
they number some 8,285 ; and Vodni, Pankshin, with a population 
of 2,007. 

Physically they are strong and well built , but they are of a 
low type and were probably cannibals. 

Hundreds of human skulls have been found in a hole near 
a cave, whilst others were placed outside on ledges of rock. In 
another compartment a number of canine skulls and jaw bones 
were suspended from the roof. 

The compounds are invariably surrounded with prickly 
cactus hedges, which served as fortification against the attacks 
of the dreaded Sura horsemen. 

The Pyemawa possess no ponies, their tribal weapon being 
bows and arrows. 

No stock is reared, with the exception of goats, but they are 
all agriculturists, and they weave mats skilfully. 

Many of the men have Haussa tobes, but their ordinary 
costume is a scanty torn cloth and skin apron. The women 
wear bunches of leaves. 

The tribal marks consist of two short thick lines at the corners 
of the mouth. 


There are a group of ninety-five Rianga in Bauchi Emirate. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. J. H. M. Molyneux. 

The Ron occupy an area of 310 square miles called Boram 
or Baron, in the south of Bauchi plateau, Pankshin Division. 
It is bounded on the north by Burrum, west by Kaleri (two 
towns in Kaleri are Ron), and south and east by Sura. The 
population, numbering some 7,029, are descendants of the Hill- 
Angas, a section of whom migrated from Lankan, circ. 1836-46 
A.D., under the leadership of one Womtass, who founded Bokkos. 
Circ. 1840 A.D. Yakuba, Emir of Bauchi, repulsed Bukuru 
and proceeded against Ron, but retired before the warlike attitude 
of its inhabitants. The Ron people were continually fighting 
amongst themselves, and against their neighbours the Burrum 
and Sura, both under Womtass and under his two sons, Jul 
and Mundun, who succeeded him. In 1914, however, all the 
Ron agreed to follow Mudun. 

They speak Ron, except on the southern fringe of the plateau 
where a dialect of Sura, interspersed with some Ron words 
and expressions, has replaced it, and at Rushere where Ankwe 
is the prevailing tongue. 

They have no tribal marks. 

Administration was conducted through the village heads, 
whose office was hereditary from father to son, except in the case 
where the son was not of age, when the deceased Chief's brother 
acted for him. He mixed freely with the populace, but per- 
formed no farm labour himself, and might not eat in company. 

Men saluted him formally by kneeling and strewing dust 
and leaves on their heads. He decided disputes, either alone 
or in council with the village elders. A murderer was liable 
to death or slavery, but might provide a slave as proxy. Theft 
was punished by death, but the sentence might be commuted 
to a fine where assets were available. Rape was punished by 
a payment of stock to the parents of the girl. Adultery as above, 
but by payment to the aggrieved husband. An offence against 
religion was punished by death. 


Little is known as to the Ron religion. Each ungwa has 
its sacred grove, and at least one in each village is regarded with 
special reverence. Outside the main entrance to every compound 
is an upright stone, such as is erected by the Angas to their 
god ' Kum "* (see page 13), often supplemented by a temple 
which is decorated with the horns of cows, buck, and bush-cow. 

The villages are situated on rocky knolls, at an average 
height of 4,200 feet above sea-level. The buildings are of mud, 
strengthened with layers of large stones ; they are circular in 
shape and roofed with grass. Intervals between the houses 
are filled in with stone dykes, so that admission is obtained through 
one winding passage only. Close to the entrance of the average 
compound are small huts in which fuel is stored. Each household 
in the compound has at least two double-store yed houses in its 
centre, the ground floor serving as living room, the upper, 
which is approached by a circular opening from without, being 
used as a granary where the grain is loosely heaped. The con- 
ditions are insanitary, each ungwa containing large stagnant 

There are no defined boundaries between the towns. 
Each man has a right to cultivate farm lands and either chooses 
virgin soil or takes over a corner of his father's farm on his marriage . 
His right of occupancy passes on his death to his heirs, i.e., 
his sons. Slaves farm within the households. 

A man commonly marries at the age of seventeen, a girl when 
she is fifteen, but they are betrothed much earlier and inter- 
course is permitted. There is no religious ceremony, but 
the bride is lightly tattooed with dotted lines on the breast and 
stomach shortly before the wedding. The young couple either 
occupy a new compound or live with the groom's father. 
A wife may eat with her husband in private, but in public 
the sexes remain apart. Marriage between near relations 
is forbidden. The dower commonly consisted of a horse and 
ten goats, which was paid in instalments. If she died without 
issue the dower was returned ; if she died young, but left issue, 
her father returned the horse only. If she deserted her husband 
the dower price was returned. Children belong to their fathers. 
Twins were killed. 

Boys are circumcised at the age of three or four. 

The working dress of both sexes consists of an'untanned hide 
worn round the loins. At other times the men add a bag of 
goat-skins suspended from the shoulders, and the women a 
finely woven string net round the loins with loose hanging ends . 

The men wear a sanitary sheath. 

The tribal weapons are spears, knives, and sharpened poles. 

Festivals take place outside the Sarki's house, the two biggest 

* Compare Montol, Sura. 

TRIBES. 341 

being before and after harvest, when there are beer drinking 
orgies for several days together. The sexes dance separately, 
in a ring, all together making a slow movement of one foot at a 
time to the strains of the tom-tom and singing. 

When a death occurs the women and girls wail, and the 
deceased, if a man of importance, is shrouded in goat-skins, 
and a large number of goats are killed and eaten. He and all 
others, whatever their degree, are buried in the compound, with 
the exception of the inhabitants of Batura, who have a cemetery 
outside the town. 

The father, or nearest relation, of the deceased wears grass 
ropes round his head, chest, and loins, and leaves his hair uncut 
for one year, in sign of mourning, at the end of which time the 
friends and relatives of the deceased are invited to a final feast 
when much beer is consumed. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. W. Morgan. 

The remnants of Rubu seventy-five in number inhabit 
Abuja in Nassarawa Province. 

They originally lived in the neighbourhood of Birnin Gwari, 
and when Kontagora made war on the country (probably at the 
end of the nineteenth century), their leaders Jermai and Sintili 
received permission to bring the Rubu within the walls of that 
city. There they remained for nine years, but when an alliance 
was declared between Kontagora and Birnin Gwari the Rubu 
retired to Abuja,* seeking escape from slavery, by which their 
numbers had been already seriously thinned. Jermai, however, 
sold more of his people on their arrival in Abuja, and hence their 
practical annihilation as a unit. 


AUTHORITY : Capt. T. W. P. Dyer. 

The Rumada are distributed throughout the Zaria Emirate, 
with the exception of the districts of Sarkin Zana, Waenga, 
Kajuru and Kaura. Some 4,000 are located in the Lemme District 
of Bauchi Emirate. 

They are a pagan people, and were originally slaves of the 
Filane Bororo, but Yakubu, Emir of Bauchi (1833 A.D.), freed 
them on account of their loyalty to him in the absence of their 

' These events are said to have occurred in the time of Abubakr 
(Chief of Birnin Gwari, 1895 A.D. ?) and of Abukwaka (Abukwaka was Chief 
of Abuja for seven years circ. 1870 A.D.) 


The Sagoawa are a small community of hill-pagans, located 
in the north of Bauchi Emirate. 


The Sangawa are distributed over the Bauchi Emirate, 
where they number some 340 ; over the Bukuru Division of 
Bauchi, where they have a population of 750, and over the 
adjacent Jemaa Emirate in Nassarawa Province. Nothing is 
recorded of them, but that they were conquered by the Filane, 
are pagans, and are administered by the Emir of Jemaa under 
a district head-man appointed by him. It has been suggested 
that they reached Jemaa from the Niger valley. 


The Sarawa are a very backward group of hill-pagans, situated 
in Bauchi Emirate in the Sara hills south of Leri. 


The Segiddawa are a small tribe situated in the south-western 
plains of Bauchi Emirate, near Ler. 

Their language bears affinity to that of their neighbour 
the Seiyawa* an offshoot of Jarawa. 


There are 1,760 Shallawa in Bauchi Emirate. 


The Shangawa occupy the banks and islands of the River 
Niger in the south of Sokoto (Gando Emirate), and the north 
of Kontagora (Yelwa and Bussa). 

* Mr. W. F. Cowers. 

TRIBES. 343 

They are a branch of Kengawa, having broken off, in the 
early half of the nineteenth century, when the Emir of Gando 
broke their town of Kaoji. Its inhabitants fled to Shenga (in 
the Yelwa Division of Kontagora) hence their name and 
when the Filane Chief, N'gwamache, subsequently Emir of 
Kontagora, captured Shenga they scattered to the islands on 
the Niger. 


The Sho or Shau are a small pagan community inhabiting 
the plains of Bauchi Emirate north of Badiko. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. H. S. W. Edwardes. 

The Sirawa are a small pagan tribe, numbering about a 
hundred, inhabiting the Ari District of Bauchi Province. 


AUTHORITY : Mr. J. H. M. Molyneux. 

The Sura are situated in the south-west of Bauchi Province, 
in the Pankshin Division, where they number some 17,722, and 
occupy an area of 375 square miles, showing an average density 
per square mile of 47.25 ; and in South Sura, Bauchi Emirate, 
where they number some 2,250, giving a total population of 
19,972 (probably underestimated). 

They say that they came from far to the south and they 
belong to the Angas, Ankwe, Montol and Yergum group, tribes 
who speak the same language though with wide dialectical 
differences, and, like the Angas, Montol and Yergum, they 
worship the same god, 'Nan." The whole tribe gather together 
to celebrate religious rites, but do not commingle in ordinary 

The principal town of Panyam was founded circ. 1830 A.D. 
by Chertu', who was accompanied by fellow-tribesmen, and 
Angas, from Gun, who settled there and in that neighbourhood, 
where they were joined by a small number of Burrum (Kibyen). 
Kereng,* and other settlements in its vicinity, was founded about 
the same date by colonists frorr^ Jepel, who are of Ankwe stock, 

* Kerang = man, is the name by which the Angas tribe describe thcm- 
sdves ; Angas being a Filane appellation. 


and these various groups were first united as Sura or Mavul 
in repelling a Filane invasion under Yakubu about 1830-1840 
A.D., since which time they have intermarried. 

They are essentially horsemen, riding bare-backed, and rely 
on the charges of their mounted spearmen, but they have bows 
and arrows, and knives also. The weapons are never poisoned. 
The Sarkin Wari, who ranked next to the Sarakuna, declared 
peace or war formally. 

The villages are built amongst shade-trees and each cluster 
of huts has its complement of nicely laid out fields surrounded 
with cactus hedges. The latter are of great age, their branches 
intertwine and form a shady avenue. The slopes are cultivated 
nearly half way up the hills to the craters, the soil being of a 
ferruginous nature and very fertile. 

All the members of a family live in the same compound. 
The houses, though built of mud, are strengthened by layers of 
stone, and are circular in shape. Grain is stored in funnel-shaped 
rumbus inside the huts. The women sleep together in one round 
hut, which is encircled in the interior by a raised mud dais which 
serves as their couch, and a fire is kept burning in the centre. 
There is an inner chamber, approachable only through a narrow 
entrance out of the married women's sleeping apartment, where 
the girls sleep. 

A girl's dress consists of string passed round and round 
the waist, with tassels hanging from it before and behind. 

The women wear loin-cloths of plaited string fastened by 
big metal buttons. 

The men smear their bodies with a greasy paint, made from 
red oxide of iron, that is found in the streams. They are naked 
but for cloth bags and perhaps an untanned goat skin, and the 
sarakuna wear metal greaves from below the knees to the ankle 
with projecting spurs. The use of Haussa clothes is gradually 

They have abandoned the practice of tribal markings. 

Their physique is fine and they are a frank, straightforward 

They were cannibals, and invariably ate the bodies of enemies 
killed in war, even were they those of their fellow-tribesmen. 
The Chief ate women convicted of adultery, and purchased 
slaves to fatten and eat them. The Chieftainship passes from 
father to eldest son (?), the deceased's brother acting as regent 
for a minor. 

On the great occasions of village life all repair to the Sarki's 
house, where also judicial cases are tried. By tribal law a murderer 
was given to the relatives of the deceased to be enslaved for 
life. Rape was punished by a fine of ten goats, the usual marriage 
fee. Theft, by compensation according to the value stolen, but 
if the deed were done at night the aggrieved householder had a 

TRIBES. 345 

right to the robber's life. Crimes against religion were punished 
by death. 

There is household worship in a temple facing the entrance 
to each compound ; it consists of a circular hut, the walls of 
which are hung with horns, the entrance being barred by an up- 
right slab of stone.* In addition there are farm jujus, represented 
by knotted grass, sticks, stones, and small uncultivated patches 
in the centre of the farms. 

In old days the Sura and Baron or Ron had common worship 
at Lankan. 

Early betrothals were practised and intercourse before 
marriage is permitted. Prior to the ceremony the bride is lightly 
tattooed on the breast and stomach, and the groom gives a 
big feast of goat's meat, salt and oil. He gives the parents 
ten bags of acha, which can be recovered if the girl refuses to 
consummate the marriage ; or, if she afterwards deserts him for 
another man, that man must give him not only the acha, but 
a horse as well. The usual age for marriage is seventeen for a 
man, fifteen for a woman. Marriage is permitted between near 
relations. Husband and wife may eat together in private, but 
not in public. Twins are killed. 

Circumcision is not practised. 

When a death occurs the women raise the death wail. The 
deceased are buried in the compounds, the principal men having 
as shroud the skins of their favourite horses. The nearest relative 
alone enjoys the privilege of mourning, the outward token 
of which is shaving the head. The period of mourning is three 
days, and for a Chief seven days. 

All property goes to the eldest son, who is bound to supply 
his brothers and sisters with means of subsistence and the loan 
of agricultural implements. If they be minors their uncle tills 
the land until they are of age. Until marriage, children farm 
for the parents, and after marriage husband and wife farm 
together on ground given them by the husband's father. They 
are good farmers. 

The principal industries are smelting and smithying, for 
the Sura supply the whole of the neighbouring tribes. Rope is 
woven out of ramma fibre, and grass mats and baskets made. 

The average height of their land above sea-level is 4,200 feet, 
and there are eight volcano craters between Ampam and Panyam, 
where the ground is very fertile. The streams are numerous 
but small. 

The country is mostly bare of trees except in the vicinity 
of the villages, but on the north-east border there is a belt of 
fan palm, two miles in depth by four in length. 

A few oil-palms are scattered here and there. 

* Compare Angas household god, Kum. 



The Sura have some nine hundred horses and mares, sturdy 
little beasts, rarely exceeding thirteen hands. There are some 
281 oxen; they do not use cattle for milking purposes. 

The recognised value of stock is : 

i horse =2 cows =20 big goats=3O hoes =40 kororo of salt ; 
i mare =i cow =12 goats =20 hoes=3O kororo of salt. 


Mr. T. F. Carlyle. The Hon. Oliver Howard. 

The Tangale tribe are situated in the extreme south of the 
Gombe Division of Bauchi Province, where they number some 
12,000 and, together with the affiliated Wurkum town of Pero, 
some 15,000, which may be further increased to 28,200 by 
including the Ture, an offset of the Tangale. In the Gujba 
Division, to the extreme south-west of Bornu Province, they 
may be roughly assessed at 20,000, and there are others in the 
independent pagan division of Yola Province, where the} 7 are 
under the Chief of the Bashamma. The- total strength may, 
therefore, be roughly estimated at 50,000. 

The Tangale were the earliest known dominant occupants 
of what is now Gombe Emirate.* There is mention of an earlier 
people who were in occupation of the southern hills, from which 
they were driven southwards, but it is possible that they were 
related to the Tangale, as were also the people known as Yaffudawa 
who inhabited Kalam prior to the arrival of the Bolewa, and 
the Rogdo, inhabitants of Kafaretti (or Kwom), who also spoke 
a dialect of Tangale. The Tangale dialects bear a resemblance to 
the speech of the Kanakuru of Shillem and Gasi (it is sometimes 
known as Nimaltu*), as also to Bolenshi, and possibly to Haussa. 

Legend ascribes the origin of the tribe to two men named 
Giddigiddi and Abdu, who were persuaded to come and reside 
at Pindika,f a Jukon state, where they were given Jukon wives. 
After a year's residence they were afraid and fled to their present 
location in the hills, where they founded the Tangale clan. After 
the lapse of some years the Jukon entered into relationship 
with them, and confirmed Giddigiddi as Chief of the Tangale, 
with Abdu as his Madaiki, they in return agreeing to recognise 
the suzerainty of Pindika. 

At the very beginning of the nineteenth century the head- 
quarters of the tribe was at Kalshingi on the Gombe plain, 
to the north-east of Pindika. Their capital was Kumbe, a name 
sometimes applied to the tribe. An act of treachery resulting 

* Vide Tera, p. 350, 352 
f Vide Jukon, p. 173. 


in a blood-feud caused a split in the tribe, and one half of them 
trekked south to their present location in the neighbourhood 
of Chongwom, where they again divided, the majority going 
to the Ture and Kaltungo vicinage, where they formed the 
group now known as Ture, and a small number went still further 
east to Boule, where their identity became merged with that 
of the original inhabitants, the Tula, though these maintained 
friendship with the Tangale and paid tribute to Pindika. Mean- 
while those Tangale who had remained at Kumbe found themselves 
so weakened that they, too, sought safety in the hills west of 
Chongwom. The feud between the two sections is still maintained. 
It is probable that a small section moved north and west finding 
a natural protection from invaders in the deep canyons of Dal 
(or Dulli) and Gabuka, in the fly-infested bush of Kafaretti 
(or Kwom), and from the Gongola River to Kupto. In these 
places a dialect of the Tangale language is still spoken. When 
a few years later the Filane broke the Jukon power at Pindika 
and over- ran the plain country, the Tangale resisted their 
incursions on the hills, though the section at Ture on the plains 
were overcome. From that time onwards, the Tangale have 
been subjected to constant raids, but have successfully main- 
tained their independence, even against the united forces of 
Gombe, Katagum, and Messau. On one occasion, when Sali, 
Emir of Messau, was killed, the Filane horsemen, struggling over 
broken ground that was well-nigh impassable on horseback, 
became so disorganised that the pagans were able to follow so 
close upon them as to dock the horses' tails. They have, however, 
never been able to descend from their fastnesses to seek peaceful 
development, and have, therefore, been driven to a prolonged 
course of rapine and feud. 

They are cannibals, but observe certain reservations. For 
instance, they will not eat the body of a murderer, or of their 
own dead; but they eat all enemies slain in battle, the breast 
being preserved for the Chief, the head, as the least desirable 
portion, for the women. The tenderer parts are dried in the 
sun, then pulverised and mixed with the ordinary gruel.* 

The heads of all victims are jealously preserved. 

The tribal marks consist of a St. Andrew's cross with a straight 
line through it from above the nose, four lines above each eye, 
four diagonal lines on each temple, four diagonal lines from the 
jawbone towards the back of the neck, on each side, and three 
diagonal lines towards the chin on each side ; all the lines being 
protuberant. There are, in addition, small dots in series of three 
down the belly. 

They wear no clothing. 

* Letter from Vogel translated by Mr. P. A. Benton in 
Songs and Historical Notes." 

TRIBES. 349 

In times of shortage, children are sold, the accepted value 
of a toy of ten being three oxen or four and a half Spanish 

When an ox is killed the fat is melted down and drunk in large 

" After death the corpse is interred up to the neck in a sitting 
position for seven days, during which time a proper catacomb 
is dug for it some twenty feet long by four to six feet broad 
and high, with three entrances, which are afterwards blocked 
with stones. On the seventh day the corpse's head is cut off 
and the body laid to rest in numerous mats, which must be 
as soft and good as possible, for if it does not lie easy it will 
" walk." On the grave a sort of monument of bundles of straw 
is erected, and the head is put near by, wrapped in straw in 
the case of a male, inside a pot in the case of a female. 

" The hut in which a man dies is at once abandoned by his 
relatives and soon falls to ruin."* 

Storks, in one village at all events, are regarded as sacred. 
' They worship a god (Yaruba), who is the personification 
of all the souls of the dead. A temple, i.e., a hut, is erected 
for him under a cotton-tree, in which is a post branching out 
at the top into three arms, on which are a small pot and two 
small earthen vessels, and an earthen ball adorned with small 
white feathers. When the guinea-corn is ripe this god leaves 
his shrine for seven days and nights, when he dances in the bush, 
and the men of the neighbourhood take advantage of his absence 
to come to the temple with three offerings : beer, which they 
poured into the upper pot ; fowls, which they sacrificed, placing 
their blood and heads in one of the earthen vessels ; and gruel, 
which has been cooked by a man. On this occasion a man 
wreathes his head and waist with guinea-corn, and dances to 
the sound of drums, whilst his attendants collect small presents 
for him. 

' ' A similar triple branched pole bearing a small pot is erected 
in front of every house, and is the receptacle for periodical offerings 
of beer."* Part of the ritual is to throw dust on their persons and, 
as the wind blows it away, they pray that as the wind cleanses 
them from dust, so may it cleanse them from sickness. 

Wizards who possess the evil eye are known as " Sambo," 
and live in a quarter apart from the rest of the tribe. It is thought 
that a fit is. caused by a wizard seizing a person's shadow; if 
the victim is able to name the aggressor, the accused wizard 
brings a certain root which, when soaked in water, restores 
the patient if his guess is right, but kills him if he is wrong (Boule) . 

* Letter from Vogel translated by Mr. P. A. Benton in " Kanuri 
Songs and Historical Notes." 


The office of priest, or ' Iku," is hereditary, passing first 
to the brother, secondly to the son and thirdly to the nephew. 
It is he who administers law, and for each case receives a fee 
of one goat. Murder is punished by the payment of seven goats, 
three hundred small hoes, and a boy to the bereaved family. 
A thief must restore the goods stolen. 

When a marriage takes place the groom gives a dower of 
a hundred large hoes to the bride's father, which must be returned 
to him should his wife leave him without having borne him a 
child. He also gives one goat to the priest that he may intercede 
with " Yaruba " to give him a son, and another to the head-men 
that they may make a feast. 

They have an elaborate system of drumming,* by which 
they convey various meanings by the change of notes, not by 
rhythm as is more commonly the custom. 

(i) ' Time " is a deep-toned drum used together with 

(2) ' Dukur ' in calling women and boys to dance. (3) '" Kuk- 
wala," a medium-toned drum, together with (4) " Kwalakatum," 
a little drum, are beaten after a head-taking fight. Numbers 
2, 3, and 4 are shaped like an elongated hour-glass. (5) " Ka- 
kanga " is a small drum with a thin high note, which is beaten 
in quick time as a call to arms. 

There are four principal dances, (i) the head-dance, which 
takes place after a fight ; (2) to celebrate a cannibal feast ; 

(3) on killing an elephant, and (4) for women and boys. 


The Taurawa are a small tribe of hill pagans, inhabiting 
the northern districts of Bauchi Emirate, near Jengre. 



Mr. J. H. C. Elder. Capt. J. ff. Hopkinson. 
Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The origin of the Tera is somewhat obscure, but it appears 
probable that they are an offshoot of the Bolewa. They came 
from Fika to that part of the country which is on the Yola- 
Gombe border, the inhabitants of which have been nicknamed 
Kanakuru by the Haussa. These tribes claim the original owner- 

Ditto Tula. 

TRIBES. . , 351 

ship of most of those lands that now constitute the Gombe Emirate, 
and are known individually as the ' Dera " and ' Jera." 

One of this group, Gomtal by name, left Shani in Yola Province 
with.,a small following, and made a settlement at the town of 
Kono, three miles to the south-east of Gulani, circ. 1610 A.D., 
thus founding what is now known as the Tera District in the 
south-west of the Gujba Division of Bornu Province. The 
twelfth Chief (Mai), moved to Ohogeshi, one mile west of Gulani, 
a town then inhabited by the Maga tribe, who agreed to follow 
him. The people intermarried and the Tera language was 
displaced by that of the Maga. Makoi, the seventeenth Mai, built 
the town of Gulani, which has remained the headquarters of 
the district, and a subsequent Chief married a daughter of the 
Mai of Biu, who henceforth excluded Gulani itself from his 
frequent raids upon the Tera vicinage. 

A more comprehensive account of the Tera history comes 
from Gombe.* They claim to have come from the neighbourhood 
of Mecca, passing through Bornu to Fika, whence they travelled 
down the Gongola to Shinga, where they found Bima Hill inhabited. 
Shinga was without a head-man, so the three leaders (who were 
brothers) left a relative there in charge. Passing by Gwani 
they crossed the Gongola, where one brother settled on the 
right bank, remaining thus in touch with Shinga, and founded 
the town of Hinna, which, as the oldest, henceforth took prece- 
dence over all other Tera settlements. 

The Hinna have their headquarters now on the left bank 
in the Gujba Division of Bornu Province. They speak a somewhat 
similar language to that spoken by the Nimalto, and in addition 
Haussa is commonly understood, owing to the fact that many 
of the young men have recently worked on the tin fields. They 
are agriculturists and also own considerable numbers of cattle 
and horses. Men and women have separate farms, but a man 
has the right to demand three days work in every seven from 
his wife. During the time that she works on his farm, she receives 
her food from her husband's store, but at other times each supplies 
the corn for their own needs, though the woman cooks for both. 
The second brother took up his abode at the old site of Kurba, 
whilst the third brother turned back and founded Deba Habe. 
Another member of their family was placed on Liji Hill to form 
a connecting link with Deba Habe and Kurba. 

Gwani was then harassed into submission. Later, when the 
Jukon formed the Kingdom of Pindika in that neighbourhood, 
Gwani became tributary to them and adopted their religion. 

On the advance of the Filane in the nineteenth century both 
Gwani and Debe Habe paid them blackmail, in slaves and in 
kind, to save themselves from invasion. 

* Sarkin Gwani and others. 


A detachment of Tera went from Shinga to Bage, where they 
found pagans (possibly Tangale), already established on the 
hill tops. They took up their abode amongst them, adopting their 
tongue, Nimalto, which is that still spoken by the Tangale. 
This speech, Nimalto, was adopted by practically all the Tera, 
whom it is probable had previously spoken Bolenshi. The 
vernacular in Panda is, however, known as Tera. 

Shinga and Bage continued to exchange gifts on the appoint- 
ment of a new head-man, though now the people of Bage deny 
all connection with other Tera. 

The facial marks of the Tera consist of a number of close 
perpendicular lines from the temples to the level of the mouth. 
They are identical to those of the Bole, and are an exaggerated 
form of the Kanuri markings. 

They are sometimes called ' men of Nimettio." 

The population of the Tera District number some 23,263, 
which includes Hinna, Nimalto, Maga, and Tangale. Probably 
the Tera number some 1,938 only. 

Their Chief ' Kworianga " holds a fifth grade stave of 

Some 6,785 Tera are located in the Gombe Emirate, having 
originally migrated thither from the western boundary of Yola 
Province. It has been stated that the original settlers, despite 
the proximity of iron-ore, had only wooden staves as weapons 
of defence. 

Gado, or death-duty, to the value of one horse, was raised 
on the Sarakuna by the Chief. He had also the right to claim 
any widow. 

On a man's death his estate was divided between his sons 
and daughters in unequal parts, according to their sex and seniority , 
the sons receiving the larger share. Were a son to predecease 
his father, his issue received no share in the inheritance, unless 
all the previous generation had died without issue. If, however, 
he died while they were yet children, his brother inherited the 
fortune and acted as guardian to the children. On his death his 
estate was divided between his own and his deceased brother's 
children, as if they were all of one family. The family might 
agree together that it was better that the whole estate should 
go to the eldest son for his life, when he was bound to fulfil 
the duties of the head of the family, i.e., pay all fines, maintain 
the young, give marriage dowers, etc.* 

If not claimed by the Sarki or Sarakuna, the widows might 
marry their step-sons, or anyone they liked. 

They are a pagan people, and during the principal religious 
feast of the year the large towns are closed to all outsiders. 

* Compare Bolewa. 

TRIBES. 353 


Mr. H. Cadman. Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Toni are located in Keffi Emirate, Nassarawa Province 
(Toni District), their population being 1,351. 

Sarkin Dari is the district and tribal Chief. 

It is said that they were the^ original inhabitants of Kano, 
whence they were driven by the Filane,* or, by another version, 
that they came from Zamfara (Sokoto)f and that they were 
settled in their present location as agriculturists and talakawa 
to the Gwandara by (if not before) 1750 A.D.f The Emir of 
Keffi does something to link these theories by the statement that 
a long time ago, Fara, a daughter of the Sarkin Kano, quarrelled 
with her husband and ran away to the bush where some Zamfara 
hunters found her and brought her to their town of Zurumi 
(now Kaura-na-Moda) . Presently the Chief and his wife went 
to visit the Sarkin Kano and were well received by him. The 
Zamfara increased greatly in numbers, and when some huntsmen 
penetrated to the country east of Keffi, they determined to 
settle down and remain there. 

Yet another version has it that the Toni came from Bornu.J 

It appears that they arrived in Toni District after the Gwan- 
dara, and it seems probable that they were both preceded by 

The Toni speak a distinct language, but they know Gwandara 
also, and appear to have identical customs. 

They practise rotation of crops, guinea-corn being cultivated 
two years in succession and then acha. These are stored in 
bins, which have no resemblance to those used by the surrounding 
tribes. They build a large cylindrical corn-bin, some nine feet 
in height, which acts as the central pillar of the house, and on 
which the roof rests. There are no vertical wooden supports to 
the roof at all. Around it are six to eight smaller bins, about 
five feet high, which support the outer edge of the roof, the 
space between the two being commonly used for grinding corn 
and cooking. The men attend to the inner bins, whilst the 
women fill the outer bins, which they do through a small opening 
off the circular passage. 

Their other occupations are weaving and hunting. 

They are a dirty, but peaceful race, as is evidenced by their 
tribal law, which permits no slavery or capital punishment. 

* Major Blakeney. 
f Mr. J. C. Sciortino. 
Sarkin Mandara. 


Murder and arson are unknown. A thief must return the goods 
he has stolen, and is further shamed by young girls singing of 
his crime. Rape is punished by a fine of 20,000 cowries and one 
goat. A woman may, however, leave her husband without 
penalty. No interest is charged on debts, and it is optional to an 
heir whether he will pay the debts of the deceased. A debtor 
may, however, be called upon by the head-man to make payment, 
and if he is unable to meet the call himself, he contracts to work 
for some richer man who will take over the debt. 

All property passes to a man's children, failing them to his 
nearest male relation, failing them to his nearest female relation, 
but under no circumstance may a woman hold land. 

Individuals have rights over certain trees. 

Orphans may be adopted by their own or any other family. 

All blood relations by male descent constitute the family, 
and marriage inside the family is not permitted. 

Early marriages are customary. The first wife has authority 
over subsequent ones, though each has her own house. 

The suitor works on the farm of his betrothed's father, and 
gives him beer and food in one calabash when the wedding 
takes place. 

Circumcision is practised. 

The Toni are a pagan people with a profound belief in witch- 
craft. At the town of Bokwako there are two shrines, open 
spaces encircled with zana mats in groves of trees. The one 
contains a straw figure, the other three or four small boulders. 


Mr. T. F. Carlyle. The Hon. Oliver Howard. 

The Tula are a group of diverse origin , who inhabit a region 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the Tangale, in the south- 
east of the Gombe Division of Bauchi Province, where they have 
a population of some 14,800. 

It is doubtful who the original inhabitants of this region 
were, possibly the Dadia, who speak a dialect of what is now 
known as the Tula language. There is also mention of an immi- 
grant people from Bellaku in Muri Province, some of whom 
remain in the town of ' Wange," the main population of which, 
together with that of the town of Iri, came from Tuar, near the 
Benue, some three generations ago.* It is, on the other hand, 
suggested that the inhabitants of Wange are of the same origin 

* The Hon. O. Howard. 

TRIBES. 355 

as the Waja, with whom they are friendly.* It is agreed, however, 
that the Boule (Tangale) came to Tula country at the same 
time as the Wange, that they overcame the original inhabitants, 
but acquired their language in the process. 

They paid tribute to the Jukon of Pindika, but when the 
latter were conquered by the Filane, gained complete inde- 

The succession of Chiefs passes first to the deceased's brothers, 
failing them to his sons, failing them to his nephews. 

Their tribal marks, which apply to all Tula, except those 
of Boule, consist of small dots, very lightly marked. On the 
left side of the face there are some six lines of dots, converging 
from either end of the ear to the eye, and some seven rows of 
dots from the nose to the jaw. On the right side of the face there 
are three horizontal rows of dots on a level with the eye, two 
semi-oval rows of dots opposite the ear, and three semi-oval 
rows of dots opposite the mouth. 

The Tula worship a god called ' Kwama," and their chief 
priest is hight ' Burno." The religious customs, law and its 
administration, marriage customs, music, and dancing ?.re 
identical with those of the Tangale, vide pages 349, 350, 
the only differences being that a murderer must pay thirty 
goats (in place of seven goats and three hundred small hoes),* 
as well as a boy of his family as blood money, and that the 
ordinary marriage dower consists of nine large hoes and six 
goats (instead of a hundred large hoes.) 


AUTHORITY : Mr. F. Daniels. 

The Tureta, extinct as an entity, are said to have been one 
of a group of aboriginal pagans inhabiting what is now the district 
of Tureta, in Sokoto, where they had a considerable population, 
occupying seventy towns, of which Fagwab was the chief. 

Every year the men gathered at Dutsin -Disa and the women 
at Samya (in Shuni) to practise their religious rites, which, 
it is said, included human sacrifice. 

When Shefu dan Fodio established the rule of the Filane, 
he called upon the tribes to bring him gaisua. Each one brought 
him of the fruits of their labours, but the Tureta alone brought 
him the produce of the bush, dogondaji, shea-nuts, hog- plums, 
locust-beans and Taura (Detarium Senegalense). The Shefu 
was very angry and cursed them and their land. They fled 
terrified and their country was left desolate. 

* Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 



Capt. C. F. Rowe. Capt. U. F. Ruxton. 

The Turu are a riverain tribe, living on the lower swamps 
of the Katsena River in the Munshi Division of Muri Province. 

Together with the Aragu (Igara), the people of Igbira and 
neighbouring countries, and the riverain Jukon, they were 
nicknamed Koto by the Haussa, Kotokori by the Yoruba, and 
together with them, i.e., with the immigrants from around 
Ida to Doma and Keana (Nassarawa Province), spoke a lingua 
franca which held sway all the way thence to the Dama neigh- 
bourhood in Southern Nigeria,* whence the Turu originally came. 

They intermarried with both Munshi and Jukon. 

They practise riverain pursuits, fishing and ferrying, act 
as middlemen between the Munshi and Haussa markets, and 
make pots. As farmers, they grow barely enough to satisfy 
their own wants, yams being the principal crop, though a con- 
siderable quantity of guinea-corn is grown for consumption 
as beer. 

No horses or oxen can survive in that locality, but each 
village has a flock of goats, sheep and fowls. 

The towns were formerly surrounded by mud walls and 
ditches, which are no longer kept in repair. 

The women eat openly in their compounds, but the men 
invariably repair to the fetish groves. 

They are a pagan people, whose ceremonies comprise heavy 
drinking bouts. They are united under a paramount Chief, 
who has, however, little real authority. Each town has its 
council of elders, who, under the chairmanship jof the village- 
head, conduct the affairs of their people. 

* The late Right Rev. S. A. C. Cro\\ther 


Capt. C. V. Boyle. Mr. G. W. Webster. 

The Vere tribe inhabit the hills bearing their name, twenty 
miles south of Yola, and occupy an area of some 500 square 

Those residing on the plains below were conquered by the 
Emir of Yola and became his private slaves. Those in the hills 
remained independent until recently, when they were placed 
in the Emirate under a Filane district-head. These are divided 
into two sections, the Vere and Chamba the latter being an 
inferior type to, though connected with, the main body of Chamba 
in the west. They are also related to the Bura, Hona, Kilba, 
Kugamma, Lala and Mumbake. 

The population numbers some 18,440. 

The Vere are believed to be indigenous to their present 
location, and were once under a paramount Chief, named " Donda 
Gwiji Gwiji," who was the founder of the tribe. There is no 
longer a tribal chief, but there are " donda " or village-chiefs, whose 
principal duty is to take the lead in war. They summon the 
elders to consultation on any matter of general importance, by 
sending round an iron rod with two or more hoops forming 
the head, or with two spirals half-way down from the head. 
These assemblies are made the occasion of a big feast , where 
much beer is consumed. 

What central authority there is is vested in the high priest, 
by name, Yakunor, who alone, with one acolyte (who ultimately 
succeeds him), may enter the shrine of the great god Yakumam. 
He is the god of rain and thunder, and it might be said of purity, 
for he will tolerate no dirt. The three outer skins are scraped 
off a corpse before burial with this view, and lepers, being unclean, 
are straightway buried alive. Black fowls and goats and other 
offerings are brought by the people to Yakunor that he may 
lay them before Yakumam in the temple, but no symbol is ever 
paraded. The office of high priest is hereditary. Next in 
importance is Doju, the god of agriculture, who is symbolised 
by a hoop of iron with long conical iron bells hung round it. 
He, in common with the other gods, is served by a special guild 
of priests, and sacrifices of corn and stock are offered to him. 


In his name they detect wizards, whose guilt is judged by recou 
to sasswood ordeal, which, however, is not strong enough 
to kill; the innocent vomit while the guilty purge. The detected 
wizard is ordered to remove his spells, and if he has not done so 
by the new moon, is mysteriously killed by the affronted god. 

Circumcision is another duty performed by the priests of 
Doju and Yakumam. It takes place at the harvest festival, 
when boys of nine or ten years of age are operated upon. They 
are held by a stick with a brass bound crook round the neck, 
and should they flinch are shamed for ever. 

Ulla is both god of the sun and god of hunting, and a ceremony 
is enacted before each hunt when the chief priest of Ulla's guild, 
takesanyella(a vegetable resembling an onion), chews it and spits 
it out so that the fragments fall all round him. He then says 
words to the effect, ' I pray to the sun above, I pray for meat." 
The hunt proceeds and the priest receives the brisket of all 
game, while the rest is divided amongst the slayers, the first 
to draw blood gets the whole of the remainder, with the exception 
of a shoulder, which goes to the second and the neck to the 

Oaths are also taken on Ulla and bear some semblance to 
an ordeal, for the swearer, after holding his bow towards the 
sun and praying that death may overtake him that very day 
if what he says is untrue, is obliged to go out and hunt lion, 
leopard, or bush-cow, armed with his bow and arrows. 

Suru, the god of birth, is a minor deity, to whom women make 
intercession for a child. A certain formula of worship is believed 
to be infallible. It consists in the applicant laying a calabash 
of water, or a decoction of herbs on his shrine. She returns 
and drinks it next day, after which she must remain at home 
and speak with no one but her husband for six days. 

Sacrilege is punished by death, the offender being buried 

It is believed that disease is caused by the anger of the gods, 
or by witch-craft, and an epidemic is attributed to the former 
cause. Therefore when an outbreak of small-pox occurs, fires 
?,re burnt, and ceremonial dances performed on the paths to 
unaffected villages that the evil may be averted. The patients 
are isolated, and all drumming, drinking and fighting is forbidden. 
The same observances apply to a threatened attack in war. 

The Vere observe ancestor worship, and the heads of the 
departed are kept in the houses of their relatives. 

The man is head of the house, but descent is traced through 
the female line, and, therefore, a man's property passes to his 
sisters, daughters, or nearest female relatives, while a woman's 
possessions go to her children. Further, it is her family who 
are responsible for her children and her grown-up daughters, 
while the grown-up sons become independent. Thus when a 

TRIBES. 359 

girl marries, which she does on reaching puberty, her mother's 
brother receives the bride price, thirty hoes or their equivalent, 
rats being a common substitute; he generally gives a share 
to the girl's mother and sometimes to her father also. There is 
no divorce. A man may not marry his wife's sister. 

A woman gives birth to her child at her mother's house. 
For a month both she and the infant are washed twice daily 
in warm water, impregnated with aromatic herbs. At the end 
of that time her husband comes to bring her home and presents 
her mother with two hoes. The child is suckled for two years, 
during which time she abstains. The Vere are a prolific race. 

The women's dress consists of a bunch of leaves worn behind, 
and sometimes another is added in front. They wear a lot of 
beads, bangles, and anklets of jingling brass. 

A man may choose between leaves, a leather apron, or nothing. 

Bows and arrows and short swords are the habitual arms, 
and some possess throwing weapons, but these are not peculiar 
to the tribe. 

They hunt, weave, make good pottery, and are superior 
blacksmiths; these work in brass as well as iron, but par ex- 
cellence they are farmers. Land is communal, and both men 
and women may clear and farm unoccupied land, which remains 
theirs and their heirs, subject to compliance with certain laws. 
They have peculiar farming chants, sung either in canon or 
harmony, with distinct parts for the different voices. All fruits 
and crops grown on his land belong to the occupier. Should 
any other pick and eat, unless he immediately pleads hunger 
and offers compensation, he is enslaved, which penalty also 
applies to breaking a pot or calabash. 

Slavery is commonly practised, and orphans and kidnapped 
children are sold. Slavery is, moreover, the punishment for 
trespass, damage and seduction, but it can only be put in force 
if the aggrieved parties are sufficiently strong to do so. 

Debt, theft and some land disputes are appealed to ordeal, 
and oaths also are made on sasswood, or the seeds of loofa. 

Yams, guinea-corn and beer are the staple foods, and they 
are heavy drinkers. Meat is rarely eaten, except after hunts, 
or that which is sacrificed to the gods. 

The ordinary currency is cigar-shaped iron bars and cowries, 
while strips of cloth, spools of cotton-thread and baskets of 
corn have fixed values. There are the remains of several numerical 
systems, including two decimal, one with a base of four and 
another with a base of five. 

Before burial, which takes place three days after death, 
the three outer skins are scraped off and are buried anywhere. 
The body is put into a deep pit in the case of a Chief, inside 
the hut, of a commoner outside the village. It is placed in an 
upright position, and the head is secured by stones, so that it 



cannot fall and a pot is put over it, a precaution taken for men 
of importance. The grave is then filled in, and at a later period 
the relatives return to remove the head to their own house. 
A woman is buried by her own people in her native village. 


Mr. T. F. Carlyle. The Hon. Oliver Howard. 

The Waja occupy a district of some 330 square miles in 
the south of Gombe Emirate (Bauchi Province), to the west of 
the Gongola River, where, including some Kitiji Filane, they 
have a population of 22,170. The district is well watered and 
embraces a plateau i,oooft. high, and rich plain-lands running 
down to the Waja River. Rubber is found and cotton is cultivated , 
strips of cloth being a form of currency. The Waja are good 
farmers and grow the ordinary foodstuffs and tobacco. Potash 
is worked in the district. 

The people are of good physique and intelligent, but there 
is evidence that they were once of a higher type. 

Their origin is unknown, but it is probable that they have 
been resident in their present location for a long time. It has 
been suggested that those occupying the town of Balungo resemble 
the Tera tribe, whilst the majority follow their southern neigh- 
bours (the Longuda). It is possible that the inhabitants of Wange 
(Tula) and the Chum are of Waja extraction. 

They speak a language connected with that of the Tera, Dera, 
and Jera, and their tribal marks consist of perpendicular cuts 
down the front and back of the face. 

The first Filane Emir of Gombe, Buba Yero, gave their 
land to a Filane named Hamma Takko of Kunde, circ. 1820 A.D., 
but they had never been conquered, and Hamma Takko never 
approached them save in force on pillaging expeditions. They 
were then raided by the Filane of Gombe and of Messau, but 
resisted the invasions with more or less success, though a few 
of the plain towns were at one time reduced to paying a small 
tribute to Kunde. 

They were first visited by the British in 1906. They have 
now accepted the suzerainty of the Emir of Gombe, and their 
district-head is a Filane on the paternal, a Waja on the maternal, 

The succession passes (i) to the brothers, (2) to the sons, 
(3) to the nephews. 


Their religion is identical with that of the TangaL'* vide 
page 349, and, like them, the priest, entitled ' Kuril," tries 
all cases, receiving a fee of one goat on each occasion. 

A murderer has to give the bereaved family one gown, one 
goat, and one girl. A thief must make good what he has stolen, f 

Girls do not marry under the age of eighteen or nineteen. 
The groom gives his mother-in-law one goat with which to 
make a feast, and his father-in-law three live goats. He also 
gives a goat to the priest, that prayer may be made to the god 
' Yakuba " that he may beget a son. Should his wife leave 
him without having given birth to a child, her father must 
return the dower. f 

The practice of circumcision is gradually being adopted. 

The Waja use the same musical instruments, and dance the 
same dances as do the Tangale,* vide page 350. 

They practise cannibalism. 


Mr. E. G. M. Dupigny. Mr. S. M. Grier. 

The Warjawa have a population of over 19,000 in the north 
of Bauchi, and an uncertain number in the south of Kano 
Provinces. In the Kanam District (Pankshin), their most 
southerly point, they number some 1,260, in the Ganjua District 
of Bauchi Emirate they number some 1,745, in the independent 
state of Ari they number some 1,500, in the independent state 
of Warji, where they live under their own tribal Chief, they have 
a population of 14,600. Over the Kano border near the river 
Bungo, with Gwarum (Birnin-Kudu) as a centre, they are also 
to be found in considerable numbers. They show affinity to 
the neighbouring Kudawa, Ningawa, Butawa, and particularly 
Afawa tribes. 

They state that they have lived -in the Ganjua and Warji 
Districts for many generations. The latter is a fertile state, 
comprising an area of 160 square miles, where a large quantity 
of guinea-corn is raised, averaging, at a low computation, 3,200 
Ibs. (unthreshed) per man. The women take a considerable 
share in the field work. There is good pasturage, and the people 
own great numbers of goats and sheep, besides some cattle and 

Other occupations are hunting, fishing, and dyeing. 

* Also Tula, Awok. 

f Compare Tangale, Tula, Awok. 

TRIBES. 363 

The ordinary costume is a loin-cloth and sometimes a tobe. 

The tribal marks (with the exception of the Warjawa of 
Kanam, who have none) consist of three short lines above the 
eye, five short lines on a level with the lip, and five longer lines 
from the brow to chin. 

They speak the Warji language, which is, however, being 
abandoned in favour of Haussa. 

Their pagan beliefs are giving way before the advance of 
Muhammadanism. The principal thesis of their creed was the 
worship of ancestors. The spirit of the late high priest, who 
was also Chief of Gella (Ganjua District), held the principal 
place as Magajin-Dodo, and was called by the personal name 
of the last deceased Sarkin Gella. He was sometimes spoken 
of as Sarkin Rua, for they believed he had the power of 
influencing the rainfall. In Kano certain trees are worshipped, 
particularly the Wakiri and Masoyi. Each family, or clan, 
worshipped its own individual ancestor, who was elevated to 
the rank of a god. 

Every four years a ceremony of circumcision is held in the 
sacred grove, where boys (of seven years old and upwards) remain 
for two months, the men bringing them food. At the end of 
that period they return home again, when cattle, sheep, goats 
and fowls are slaughtered, and a great feast is held. 

Some Muhammadan emigrants from Shira and Birnin-Kudu 
(Kano Province) settled amongst the Warjawa, and adopted 
their language, customs and tribal marks, but not their religion, 
though they lost their own. To them is attributed the practice 
of driving a three feet high stake into ^the ground, outside the 
house of the family head. It represents the family dodo, and 
is surrounded by others two and a half feet high. Blood and 
beer r.r< periodically poured over them, and other rites performed. 

The Warjawa believe that certain people have the power 
of assuming animal form, particularly that of the elephant, but 
each family observes tabu for some special animal, because the 
members of that clan can take its shape. 

In the past any person who violated tribal law was sacrificed 
in the sacred grove, his blood was offered as a libation, and his 
flesh was eaten. 

Disputes are settled by the family head, the disputants 
being summoned to take oath in the sacred groves. If the case 
could not be proved, recourse was had to ordeal , when the accused 
brought a cock to the sacred grove, where it was beheaded. If 
it fell on its back the accused was acquitted, if forward he was 

This same test was used to consult omens when the tribe 
was threatened with misfortune. On these occasions libations 
were made and a festival held. 


Suitors give a large dower for their brides. Desertion is 
practically unknown. 

The dead are buried in a recumbent position, with the legs 
straight out. Pots are placed on the grave, in which libations 
of beer are poured from time to time in the case of an important 
man, in whose honour a wake is held shortly after his death. 


Mr. K. V. Elphinstone. Capt. U. F. Ruxton. 

The Wurbo are situated on the banks of the Benue between 
Lau and Ibi, and on the Taraba and Donga Rivers, in Muri 

They are divided into clans, the Jiru and Wursan on the 
Benue ; and the Sundai, Sesi, Kindabi and Kwampi, of whom 
the latter are now the most numerous. 

It seems probable that they were the original inhabitants 
of these river banks, but despite a tall, broad physique, they 
were not a combative race and were subject to the Kororofa, 
to whom they paid a tribute of fish. At the end of the eighteenth 
century, when the Jukon power was declining, the Wurbo were 
invaded by the Chamba. They did not attempt to beat back 
their enemy, but constructed a pile village in the centre of Kundi 
lake, whither they retreated. In the dry season the depth of 
water was never less than six feet and the town was two hundred 
yards away from the shore. It measured 250 yards by 150, 
and two lanes traversed its length and breadth. Cross pieces 
were bound over the piles and several thicknesses of zana matting 
were spread over the top. 

Each family had a separate hut, and each householder owned 
two canoes. This town was occupied as recently as between the 
years 1860-70 A.D. 

The Filane invaded the country about the middle of the 
nineteenth century, and Burba, of the Muri family, settled there 
about 1870 A.D. 

The remnants of the Jukon had by then removed to Wukari, 
and thither the Wurbo followed them, stopping first at Donga. 

Burba,, the Filane, had, however, been smitten with madness, 
which was attributed to the malign influence of ' Di," god 
of the Wurbo, and it was thought that if the Wurbo returned to 
their own country the anger of the god would be appeased and 
the curse removed. Therefore they were recalled and became 
serfs to the Filane, but recently, in 1907, they complained of the 

TRIBES. 365 

Filane successors to Burba, and migrated to the neighbouring 
District of Wurio. 

Their staple food is maize, of which they raise two crops 
each year, and they also cultivate pumpkin (guna), cassava, 
and sweet potatoes. 

They are a riverain people and eat quantities of smoked 
fish, manatee, and crocodile. They do not eat hippopotami, 
though they frequently kill them with poisoned arrows for the 
use of their Filane masters. 

Their canoes are very small, being made out of two pieces 
of wood which are sewn together in the centre ; the bows are 
ornamented with a tracery design, and there is a rest for the 
fish-spears. The paddler stands. 

They live in small hamlets, and are employed as builders 
and thatchers by their Filane masters. 

As has been already mentioned they worship a god named 
" Di," whose temple is a rocky hill called by his name, 
11 Kun-di." 

The Wurbo speak a distinct language. 



Mr. H. R. Brice-Smith. Mr. T. F. Carlyle. 

The Hon. Oliver Howard. 

The Wurkum live in rugged, mountainous country in the 
Lau Division, to the north-east of Muri Province, occupying 
an area of some 300 square miles with a population of 15,178. 
There is also a Wurkum town in the Combe Division of Bauchi 
Province. The Wurkum used to raid the Tangale farms some 
twelve miles west of their headquarters at Chongwom, and a 
small number asked leave of the Tangale to settle there. They 
are called ' Pero " after the town they occupy, and speak a 
dialect of Tangale, though they adhere to the Wurkum tribal 
marks. They, like the Tangale, were subject to the Jukon of 
Pindika, but were never raided by the Filane. They number 
some 2,800. 

The Wurkum state that they migrated from Gwendon in 
the north-east about the middle of the eighteenth century, 
and Jukon, from Kwona, arriving there at the same time, the 
two peoples intermarried, the Wurkum preponderating, and 
pushed out joint colonies to the west. 

At the time of the Filane Jihad Yakubu, first Emir of Bauchi , 
conquered them and exacted an annual tribute of slaves and 
hoes, but on his death in 1833 A.D., the payment was discontinued. 


With the exception of some 1,700, who have settled soutl 
of their own country in the Muri Emirate, the Wurkum are an 
independent tribe. They first paid tribute to the British Govern- 
ment in 1906, to the extent of ten black cloths from each of 
their villages, but in 1909 were assessed and brought under 
control. They are now under a tribal Chief named " Sambo." 

Their criminal law provides for the punishment of a murderer 
by the payment of three slaves or their equivalent value, in 
default of which war is made on his village and one of his family 
killed. A thief is tied up until the articles he has stolen are 
recovered, or their equivalent paid. A debtor is regarded as 
a thief. An adulterer of either sex was under penalty of death 
by burning, but the sentence was commonly commuted to the 
payment of a fine. If there is doubt as to the guilt of the accused 
party, recourse may be had to trial by ordeal, when water, 
poisoned by the Gwaska bean, is administered to him. 

The Wurkum are a negro type of good physique, but both 
sexes suffer from elephantiasis, leprosy is not uncommon, arid 
a large percentage become blind in their old age. 

The majority of men wear blue and white striped loin-cloths, 
whilst the Chiefs wear gowns and turbans. Haussa clothing is 
gradually being adopted. 

They all insert wooden discs, three inches wide, in the lobes 
of their ears, and the tribal mark consists of a number of small 
protuberant cuts on the forehead. The women tattoo their 
stomachs, and wear a bunch of leaves before and behind. Girls 
are nude. 

Guinea-corn is the staple product, but they do not grow 
more than enough for their own needs. All the field-work is 
done by men, but the women help to carry the produce. 

There is a salt area which is held in trust for the people by 
Sarkin Kirum ; it is worked by women for local consumption 
only. A little smithying is done, the ore being imported from 
Mumuye country. The only other industries are pot-making 
and mat-weaving, but only for local use. 

The villages are commonly situated on the spurs of the hills , 
and a few are on the summits. They are stockaded by stone 

Circular shields of buffalo hide are used for defensive purposes, 
and spears, bows and arrows are the weapons of the country. 

There are no perennial streams in the country, so that \vater 
is scarce and, in the dry season, bad. The capital is Kirum, 
where a population of 1,050 reside, while the chief fetish town 
is Balassa, population 960. 

In the event of drought or pestilence the deity Eku is pro- 
pitiated by the sacrifice of sheep and goats. He is sometimes 
represented as fully clothed, sometimes as stark naked. 

TRIBES. 367 

There is a secret society of " Eku." to which the elders 
alone may belong. They perform certain rites outside the villages, 
accompanied by heavy carousing. There is a second secret 
society named " Zuget." which is of a judicial character, and 
is mainly used to terrorise the women. 

There are temples in every village, which consist of huts 
supported by poles cut from the Ararabi tree, and surrounded 
by zana matting. They are half the size of the habitable huts 
and contain wooden effigies of the dead, two to four feet in height, 
representing both males and females, in which their spirits are 
supposed to reside, and offerings of food are made to them. 
Certain ceremonies of initiation, etc., are held in these temples. 

Death and sickness are attributed to witchcraft or to the 
machinations of evil spirits. 

They believe in re-incarnation, but not in transmigration. 

Before a boy is admitted as a full member of the tribe, he 
has to undergo certain tests of manhood and endurance. He 
is lashed by a whip, and deep incisions are made in his arms, into 
which, in the case of the wealthy, the blood of the bravest man 
in the village is poured. 

'Marriage is regulated by exchange, the groom providing 
a corresponding female relation, whom he hands over to the 
bride's uncle, but the Muhammadan system of payment of 
a dower is gradually superseding the tribal custom. Should an 
unmarried girl give birth to a child, it will belong to her subsequent 
husband. The birth of twins is thought lucky. 

When a death occurs the women wail until the time of burial, 
which takes place within a few hours of death. The grave consists 
of a circular hole, which is closed by a rectangular stone. A 
pot of beer is placed on the top. 

Brothers inherit the bulk of the property, including the 
widows, but the eldest son gets a share if he is more than a child, 
and sometimes the younger widows may be given to the sons. 


There are 1,075 Wutana in Bauchi Emirate. 


The Yagba are situated in the north-west of Kabba Province, 
where they have a population of some 17,872, and over the 
border in the Pateji Division of Ilorin Province. 

It is doubtful whether or not they are of Yoruba extraction, 
though they speak a dialect of Yoruba. 

They practise a similar custom to that of the Nupe (Gurara 
District) and of the Ekiti, which permits a woman to marry 
young girls, whom she subsequently lets out to some man or 
men herself as legal husband retaining the right of possession 
to any children they may bear. 

They are a pagan people, and the priests have charms for 
scattering the rain-clouds. 

The women weave good cloth, but agriculture is the main 

They eat dogs. 

Their principal weapons are flint-locks and poisoned arrows, 
but they are a cowardly race. 


Mr. J. C. D. Clarke. Major W. Hamilton-Browne. 

The Yauri, a Muhammadan people, inhabit an area of some 
2,400 square miles in what is no wtheYelwa District of Kontagora 
Province stretching from the banks of the river Niger to within 
a few miles of Kontagora town. It has been said that they were 
originally a branch of the Gungawa tribe, who settled in Yauri 
under the Chieftainship of a Kano mallam. See notes on Yelwa. 


The Yemawa, with a population of 731, inhabit the Kanam 
District of Bauchi Province. 

They were wholly or partially conquered by the Filane, 
but had re-asserted their independence before the British occu- 

TRIBES. 369 

They are pagans, but many of the Chiefs have adopted Islam. 
They are a fairly organised community, and the majority 
wear clothing. 

They are a sub-section of Jarawa. 


Mr. A. L. Auchinleck. Mr. J. F. Fitzpatrick. 

The Yergum owe their name to the Filane, who nicknamed 
them thus, the tribal name being Tarok. They inhabit Birua 
and Karfel in the Kanam District and other parts of the Pankshin 
Division of Bauchi Pro.vince, including the Dollong or Pe District, 
where, together with those Angasawa, who live there as their 
neighbours, they are commonly known as Dollong or Pe, their 
numbers being respectively 750, 1,596, and 730, making a total 
of 3,076. The four Yergum Districts in Pankshin have recognised 
(1914) Sarkin Pankshin, a Hill Angas man, as their head. The 
majority of the tribe, however, live over the border in Muri 
Province, where they may be roughly divided into three sections, 
that of Langtang, with a population of 5,619, that of Borot 
with a population of 2,524, and that of Gani with a population 
of 5,119 numbering in all 13,262, the total number of Yergum 
being 16,338. These three sections comprise twelve clans, 
eight of whom came from the Tal District of Pankshin and 
constitute the ' Tarok " proper, whilst the remaining four 
clans followed them at a later period, circ. 1815-30 A.D., from 
the neighbouring Angas country. They are known collectively 
as the ' Sayirr," individually as Jatt, Laka, Bundun and 

The Yergum at first acknowledged the suzerainty of the 
Ankwe Chief, Sarkin Tshendam, but when he was conquered 
by the Filane in 1815 they paid tribute to the Filane at Wase 
for the space of two years, that is to say, until the Filane with- 
drew from the country. 

Of the eight Tarok clans the Langtang is the principal, for 
they were the first settlers in their present locality. 

The Borot are an influential clan. 

The Gani, more commonly called Sa, after the second son 
of Gani, are also powerful. When the Filane retired from the 
neighbourhood, and the Yergum once more regained their inde- 
pendence, the Gani went to Bauchi and obtained permission 
from the Emir to occupy the plainlands between the Yergum 
Hills and Wase River, in return for which they were to pay 100,000 
bundles of guinea-corn each year. This agreement was made 


when the Gani numbered some four hundred householders only, 
but as they increased in strength, they rose against the Filane 
at Wase and inflicted a severe defeat upon them, after which 
they paid the nominal tithe of 1,200 bundles. 

The Gazum clan found a branch of the Tal Angas, the Dubur, 
already established in their new quarters. These men were 
a religious sect who were governed by a council of five head-men, 
whose office was hereditary, passing to their eldest sons. As 
original occupiers of the land, the Dubur claimed that the Gazum 
Chief should be elected by these five men, and this has always 
been done, the government of the district devolving upon the 
council between each election. No minor ranks are recognised. 

They practise cannibalism, as do the Gyun and Kolak. 
Another branch of the Yergum, known as ' Tehe " or " Pit," 
from the deep valley they occupied now succeeded by the 
Tumot broke off from the parent clan in consequence of a dispute 
concerning chieftainship, and trekking East settled in a district 
inhabited by the Nazuam, whose language and burial customs 
they adopted. The Nazuam are now extinct, the last of that 
tribe dying in 1904. 

The eighth clan are the Kumbon. 

The Yergum are closely allied to the Angas, Sura, Ankwe 
and Montol, all of whom speak dialects of the same language, 
and have many of their religious and secular customs in common. 

Their tribal mark consists of three pairs of two-inch-long 
lines, radiating from the outer corner of each eye, or of four short 
horizontal lines at the corners of the eye, or the Angas mark of 
a stripe on each side of the face from above the temple to above 
the chin. 

The Yergum of Muri are under one paramount Chief, the 
Sarkin Langtang, and two sub-Chiefs, those of Borot and Gani 
(Sa). These offices are hereditary, the succession going first 
through all the brothers of one generation and then to the eldest 
son of the next generation subject to the Sarakuna and elders 
finding the candidate suitable. Before electing the Sarkin 
Langtang they meet in council for four days to decide this point. 
A Chief cannot be deprived of his rank, but may be turned out 
and driven away should he prove unsuitable. 

The heir to the Chieftainship bears the Filane title of Chiroma 
and there is also a Galadima , but the Borot alone have a Madawaki . 

The Chief holds the land in trust for his people, but settles 
no tribal question except in conjunction with the council of 
elders. He receives no tribute beyond a percentage of the fines 
imposed on criminals , and the heads and skins of all lions, leopards, 
and hyenas that a member of the Langtang tribe may kill. 
Hunters of other clans bring him some meat, but give the heads 
and skins to their own Chiefs. 

TRIBES. 371 

No man may be arrested, but if he fails to appear when 
summoned, the spirits turn him out of his house, and he has to 
fly the community. A murderer is fined, the price being usually 
ten v sheep ; and for theft also a fine is inflicted. If a man's guilt 
is disputed, he is subjected to the ordeal of taking out an iron 
axe from a pot of boiling water in which it has been placed before 
the pot was put on the fire. If he is innocent he suffers no hurt. 

The principal duty of the Sarkin Langtang is in connection 
with religious ceremonies. Each year at the beginning of the 
dry season he summons the chiefs together, and they drink beer 
by the burial-place of the Chiefs. The stone is then rolled from 
the mouth of the vault, and the Sarki descends into it and hands 
up all the skulls of his ancestors, calling upon each by name 
to intercede with the god Nan to send a good harvest. After 
they are replaced and the vault closed, a sheep and fowl are 
killed and their blood is sprinkled over the tomb. The Chief, 
who has been assisted throughout by a boy, rubs the blood on both 
temples, the inner part of the elbow joint, and the bottom of the 
breastbone. His acolyte does the same, and the ceremony ends 
with the usual feast. Similar rights are performed by the sub- 
Chiefs, each appealing to his own ancestors. Thus it will be 
seen that the Yergum regard the spirits of the dead as powerful 
intermediaries, and believe that they are accessible through 
the skulls of their dead bodies. These skulls are carefully kept 
in white cloths, and are handed down from one generation to 
another. They are taken out and consulted or prayed to in 
times of difficulty. A man will occasionally bequeath his own 
head, in which case, though it is kept with the others, it is put 
into an earthen pot, which is sealed up. They believe the 
good are reincarnated into a Yergum of the same sex. 

Each village has a tsafi house, where the skulls of enemies, 
and of lions, leopards and hyenas are kept. The former are 
marked with a red cross. The building is decorated with marks 
in red earth, so that no woman may pretend ignorance and 
enter. In 1900 a woman went in, despite the prohibition, and 
was never seen again. 

The chief and elders commonly meet in the tsafi house. 

All the men have to be initiated, and spend three years in 
the tsafi house before they are allowed to marry. When a 
boy enters it for the first time he is preceded by the man last 
initiated, who carries some flour, ground by the noviciate's 
mother from corn given her by the father, which he offers to 
Nan, calling upon the lad's father, grandfather and Nan as he 
does so. 

There is no circumcision. 

Besides the worship of the great god Nan, who lives in the 
sky, each person has one or more ju-ju. These may be wooden 
images of men and of women, stones, sticks, or earthen pots, all of 


which are invoked in the name of their possessor. After the 
death of their owner the objects are rendered inoperative by 
being laid from an upright into an horizontal position. It is 
a moot point how much sanctity attaches to the tsafi houses 
in the minds of the male population, or, at all events, amongst 
the chiefs and elders. The Sarkin Langtang owns to using 
it as a means to coerce the women. He says that women are 
very strong, and that they like to believe the men stronger, 
whereas it is only through tsafi that a man can make himself 

No woman is ever allowed to leave her own country. 

A father has authority to marry his daughter to whomever 
he likes, provided it is not to a blood relation, but he rarely 
exercises his right against the girl's wishes. 

The women do not marry until they are about twenty years 
old, but for some years previously their suitors bring presents 
of two sheep, every wet season and every dry season, to the 
girl's father. This is done by night, except where there has been 
a long intimacy, when the sheep are brought by day. When the 
marriage is about to be consummated the suitor sends his 
father-in-law five sheep, together with the meat of five others, 
with which he makes a feast that is attended by all his relations, 
but not by the young man himself. All these sheep are provided 
by the groom's father, who gives him in addition ten sheep 
with which to start his own flock. A man may have any number 
of wives, sometimes as many as twenty. On the other hand, 
some never attain sufficient wealth to buy themselves one, but 
on an average there are three or four. All the wives have equal 
status, though special duties are allocated to the first three. The 
first has charge of the guinea-corn, the second of the gero, and 
the third of the bean bins. 

The women trade freely and bring the sheep which are 
tended by the men. There is no divorce, and if a woman runs 
away she is forced to return to her husband, who may either 
keep her or send her back to her people, with whom she must 
live unwed till after her husband's death. In this case the 
co-respondent's life is forfeit to the injured man, but if the 
woman has not run away he is let off with a fine of four baskets 
of gero and a sheep. Beer is made from the former, and five 
pots of it are drunk, and the sheep eaten by the elders at the 
tsafi house. 

The marriage customs of the Gazum clan are somewhat 
different. The suitor cooks the meat of a sheep, and sends it 
to the girl's mother at sowing, and again at reaping time. He 
gives the father twenty or thirty hoes (a form of currency), six 
baskets of gero, and the flesh of five sheep and a dog, which he 
divides amongst his family. To his bride he gives a few strips 
of black cloth. 

TRIBES. 373 

After the birth of a child the women choose a suitable name, 
but if there is no circumstance to guide their choice they wait 
until it falls sick, when a medicine man is summoned, and he 
consults his oracles and selects a name. On that same day 
a small earthen pot with a cover is put near the mother's house, 
and an offering of flour is placed inside it whenever the child 
is sick. When the baby is weaned it is taken by its mother's 
brother, and inherits wealth, but not rank, as his child. Its 
father may, however, redeem it at the price of one big ram or 
two sheep. The Langtang and Borot do not, however, venture 
to press this claim with a Jatt or Hill Kolak, with whom they 
are on unfriendly terms. 

A woman does not cohabit for three years after the birth 
of her baby. 

The Yergum possess big flocks of sheep, which are of a larger 
breed than those of neighbouring tribes, but which are never 
killed except for sacrifice or for marriage feasts. A rich man 
will have as many as four hundred, and they have a regular 
value as currency, one sheep, the equivalent of a black cloth, 
being worth 3*. in money. A male slave was valued at thirty, 
a female slave at twenty sheep. The latter did the same work 
as any other woman, but was never freed, whereas a man 
automatically regained his liberty on the death of his master, 
when he was given land to make a farrn. A Yergum would 
never enslave one of his own tribe. 

It is one of the principal grain-producing districts in the 
Province, and large quantities of dawa and gero are sold. The 
acreage of land under cultivation works out at about five acres 
per adult. 

The following is an account of the burial of the Sarkin 
Langtang. The senior male member of the family, alone and 
after dark, prepares the body for burial. He wraps it in a white 
cloth, like a mummy is wrapped, and places a white cap on the 
head. In the right hand is placed some flour and guinea-corn 
mixed. The body is laid at full length on the left side and the 
cheek is rested on the left palm. The elders then bring a bier 
of guinea-corn stalks, on which the body is carried to the south 
face of the Durr Hill, to a vault just below the crest line. 
There the dead man is laid with his head cushioned upon all 
his clothing. A big fire had been kindled outside, and in it 
the bier is burned. All this is done at night. The next day the 
women, who were in strict seclusion, and who make no wailing, 
brew beer, and for five days no one comes to the house. At 
the end of that period all the men assemble to drink, the Sarkuna 
feast off gia made from gero, the talakawa off gia made from 
guinea-corn. After forty days the head, wrapped in a white 
cloth, is placed with those of his ancestors. 


In the case of commoners the dead man is placed in the 
entrance hut of his compound, and a drum is beaten to keep away 
evil spirits. The young men go out and fire arrows with the 
intention of shooting the hidden death. The corpse is then 
laid in a trench, but chieftains are buried in their family vaults. 
Anyone who has died of small-pox is buried in the bush ; of snake- 
bite the body is buried outside his compound, and the head 
alone taken to the vault. If in war, the head is brought home, 
buried in the house, and forty days later taken to the vault. 
This applied to the Sarkin Langtang also. 

Widows may marry the slaves of their late husbands, but 
otherwise are apportioned amongst the dead man's sons. The 
eldest son, who inherits the largest share, gives his mother to 
his father's brothers, and this allotment takes place immediately 
after the burial feast. 

At feasts men dance, but the women look on. The musical 
instruments of the people are zithers, made from split guinea- 
corn stalks, tuned in a minor key ; wooden pipes, and drums. 
In inter-tribal war these latter are not beaten, only against 

A peculiar weapon is a wooden throwing club. 



Mr. E. J. Arnett. Mr. W. Morgan. 

Mr. H. F. Mathews. Commander B. E. M. Waters. 

The Yeskwa are distributed through the Kem, Jemaa and 
Abuja Emirates in Nassarawa Province. In the Kem Emirate 
they inhabit the Yeskwa district, which has an area of 450 square 
miles. The population per square mile is 14.6, giving a total 
of 4,757, including 1,336 Gwandara, men being in preponderance 
over women. The district is situated to the north, east and 
west of the Gitata Hills. It is undulating, well watered, 
with fertile soil, and is thickly wooded in parts. There are 
thousands of oil-palms, valued at 5 per head, every whisky 
bottle full of palm-oil fetching over one shilling. It is good 
pastoral land, and ten thousand head of cattle may be found 
there in the dry season, besides large flocks of sheep and goats. 

Only a small quantity of tobacco is cultivated, for the 
people are not great smokers. Though they drink to excess 
on occasions, they are not habitual drunkards. 

The tribal Chief is Sarkin Bagaji. 

Their origin is unknown, though it is a significant fact that 
ninety-eight per cent, understand Haussa. It is said that some 

TRIBES. 375 

came from Panda (the extreme east of Bauchi Province), via 
Jagindi to Abuja, in flight before the Filane invasion, but 
that large numbers of these immigrants died of small-pox, and 
few are to be found in Abuja now. The majority were tributary 
to the Haussa Kings of Zozo, and when the Sarkin Zozo was 
forced to flee to the Abuja neighbourhood, the Yeskwa continued 
to pay him tribute there. Those in Kefn were presently 
conquered by Mohaman Sani, a Filane of Zaria, who came to 
that neighbourhood to break the Gwandara, but ultimately 
returned home, leaving the Yeskwa in peace to descend from 
their hill habitations to the plains, where the villages are now 
hidden away in small belts of forests (kurmi). 

The tribe Yesko or Yeskwa figures largely in the early 
accounts of slave-raiding in the country south of Zaria. They 
have been mentioned as resident in Sokoto Province, but can 
only have been brought thither as slaves, and cannot be 
considered as a unit. 

The compounds are circular in shape, and are approached 
through one entrance, each hut being connected with its 
neighbour by a corn-bin ; the living rooms are to the outside, 
and within each is a smaller apartment. 

The Yeskwa are timid in character, relying on pits for their 
defence more than on arms. They are of poor physique, being 
particularly prone to leprosy. A man's average height is five 
feet nine inches. 

In the Yeskwa district they wear Haussa gowns, and the 
women locally woven cloths, but in wilder parts the latter wear 
a girdle of string, with the loose ends falling in front and a bunch 
of leaves hanging behind. Their tribal marks consist of an 
inverted 3 , a perpendicular line I and an E on either side of the 
nose. (3 IE) 

When a child is born its father assembles his friends, and 
a feast is held, at which a considerable quantity of beer is 

Girls are betrothed as small children, but before reaching 
marriageable age they have the right to break off the engage- 
ment, in which case the dower of twelve goats, which has been 
paid to the bride's father, is returned to the suitor. A woman 
may leave her husband, but if she has not borne him children, 
and has offspring by some other man, they belong to her first 

Burial follows on death with all possible speed. The deceased 
is mourned for a few hours and then a wake is held, at which 
much beer is consumed. The widows usually marry again. 

Succession is to the eldest son only. 

They believe in the power of their ancestors to avert harm 
from them, and they bring pots of beer to the shrines as offerings 
to the spirits of the dead, and there converse with them. 



The origin of the Yoruba is unknown, but according to the 
Sarkin Illo (Sokoto) and his council, the Yoruba were, together 
with the Bussawa, Kengawa and Gurumawa (at that time one 
race) , part of a great migration from the neighbourhood of 
Mecca. Their sovereign, Kishera, King of Badar, opposed the 
advance of the Prophet Mahomet, in which he sought the 
assistance of his relative the Sarkin Bornu, but in vain. He 
was defeated and killed, and his son led the people westwards 
in flight across the Sudan. One section broke off and settled 
at Bussa, another at Nikki, and a third at Illo, under three 
brothers, descendants of Kishera, while a fourth party, the 
Yoruba, pushed on further down the Niger River and overran 
Ilorin and the countries of the south.* 

This may be compared with what Mohammed Bello, of 
Sokoto, writes of them : f" The inhabitants of this Province, 
it is supposed, originated from the remnant of the children of 
Canaan, who were of the tribe of Nimrod. The cause of their 
establishment in the West of Africa was, as it is stated, in conse- 
quence of their being driven by Yaarooba (Yaruba), son of 
Kahtan, out of Arabia to the western coast between Egypt 
and Abyssinia. Fron that spot they advanced to the interior 
of Africa till they reached Yarba, where they fixed their 
residence. On their way, they left in every place where they 
stopped at, a tribe of their own people. Thus it is supposed 
that all the tribes of Sudan, who inhabit the mountains, are 
originated from them, as also the inhabitants of Yauri." In 
confirmation of this a more recent authority writes : " They them- 
selves, who know nothing of Nimrod, claim to be descended 
from ' the mother of the hunter's children ' . . . . . and 
at Ife and in Abeokuta, the great mother of the six tribes is 
still worshipped under the name of lya ommohod deh the 
mother of the hunter's children." One of their first princes 
was named Yoruba. 

In a paper read before the Lagos Institute in 1901, Dr. O. 
Johnson, B.A., M.D., said: ''The Yorubas claim to have 
emigrated originally from the East at a very early period. To 
them the East is Mecca and Mecca is the East ; hence we not 
unfrequently hear from old people that their ancestors came 
originally from Mecca. 

It is more likely, however, that Upper Egypt, or Nubia, 
was their original home, apart from their habits and mode of 
thought, which are peculiarly Eastern, their manners and 
customs also point in the same direction. If one notices the 

* See History of Illo. 

f Denham and Clapperton. 

TRIBES. 377 

way they bind their dead for interment, and see how exactly 
it is in the manner Egyptian mummies are wound, the truth 
will impress itself in his mind that they are of the same stock 
as the ancient Egyptians. We may even go further, and notice 
the kind of cloth the mummies are bound with, and we shall 
easily recognise in them our Samaya cloths. 

Again, in what are known as the If e marble stones, we see carv- 
ings not unlike Egyptian carvings, and they must have been done 
by people from those parts, the art being lost to their degenerate 
descendants of these days." 

The leaders of the people first settled at Ife, or He Ife, which 
still remains the spiritual headquarters of the tribe, and the 
next settlement was at Igboho, which became the administrative 
capital for a while, though it appears doubtful whether Shango, 
the fourth King, moved thence or from He Ife to Oyo, a few 
miles north of Igboho, in the extreme north of Southern 
Nigeria. Thenceforth Oyo (= metropolis) was the accepted 
name for the capital, which signified the town where the Chief 
resided, which he might not leave. At that time the Yoruba 
Kingdom extended from Ketu and Sabe on the borders of 
Dahomey in the west, to Benin in the east, from the Niger in 
the north, to the Atlantic Ocean in the south; and the unity 
of the nation is shown by the fact that Shango the Chief is to 
this day worshipped as Shango the god in all those countries. 
For recent events see historical notes on Ilorin. 

The Yoruba are a nation numbering some four million, and 
though the majority live in Southern Nigeria, large numbers 
are distributed over the Provinces of Ilorin, Kontagora, and 
Niger, and a few hundreds in Nassarawa and Sokoto. 

There are various clans of Yoruba, speaking the same 
language, but with different tribal marks. The most 
important of these are the Egba at Abeokuta, Jebu or Gebu, 
north of Abeokuta, Badan at Ibadan, Bumaso also in 
Southern Nigeria, Ileboro or Igboro at Offa. 

The Ekiti, 'Gbona and Yagba also speak dialects of Yoruba, 
and are probably offshoots, though it. is sometimes asserted that 
they are not. The Baedegi at Jebba are also Yoruba from Ilorin. 

The monarchical system of government prevails in most 
of the Yoruba tribes, but the King is merely the nominal head 
of the State, and has little real power, which remains in the hands 
of the chiefs and elders, without whom the King can do nothing. 
In each State there is a council of elders, without whose 
concurrence the King can issue no edict, and a two-thirds majority 
of which is required for any new law. The sovereignty of a 

* The following and other passages in asterisks are quoted from Colonel 
H. B. Ellis' "The Yoruba-speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West 
Africa." Chapman and Hall. 


State is hereditary in one family, but the individual who is 
to succeed to the office is selected by the Council. The monarchy 
is thus elective, though only men of a certain blood descent are 
qualified for election. The council of elders, besides electing 
a king, controls his actions, and should he show any disposition 
to make himself independent of it, invites him to "go to sleep " 
by sending him a present of parrots' eggs. The King is never 
allowed to see foreigners without some members of the Council 
being present, and all his actions are closely watched. The 
King and Council make laws and decide all ordinary affairs, 
but, should any question of vital importance to the nation arise, 
the whole people is assembled for its discussion and settlement, 
and every individual, regardless of position, is allowed to express 
his opinion. The emblem of royalty is a conical head-dress of 
beads, from which hang long strings of beads, so arranged as 
to conceal the face of the wearer. An epithet applied to kings 
is " Alaiye, Owner of the World." 

The chief officers of the State are the Bashorun, or prime 
minister, the chief adviser of the King, who has the title of 
Emewa, (Eni-mo-ewa) . 'He who knows the mind/' and the 
Balogun (Oba-ni-ogun) , or " Chief of the Army." The military 
officer second in command is styled the Seriki. Next to these 
high officials come the civil governors of towns (Bale*), each 
of whom exercises rule in his own domain. Under the Bales 
of towns are the Bales of town-quarters and villages, and under 
these again are the Bales of households. 

The Bale of a household is responsible for the preservation 
of order in the group of dwellings occupied by his family and 
dependents. He settles all minor disputes between those under 
his control, but if the matter involves the subordinates of 
another household Bale, it is taken before the Bale of the 
town-quarter, who is responsible for peace and order within that 
area. If it be an ordinary " palaver," this functionary settles it, 
but if it be serious he must refer it to the Bale of the town. 
Unless the affair concerns another district also, or is of national 
importance, it need go no further, for in his own domain the 
town Bale is almost independent. Persons subject to a Bale 
address him as "Baba," "Father," or "Master," and he 
in turn calls them " My children." 

In every town there is, besides the Bale, an lyalode ; 
(lya-ni-ode), 'Mistress of the street," to whom all disputes 
between women are brought in the first instance, only those which 
she is unable to deal with being referred to the Bale. The lyalode 
has as coadjutors an Oton-Iyalode (right-hand lyalode) and an 
Osin-Iyalode (left-hand lyalode). 

*B-ale = Oba ile, literally "Chief of the house, or town." 

TRIBES. 379 

Members of council and town-Bales are Oloris, " chiefs," 
and form the aristocracy. Every Olori has in his service certain 
men termed Onses, who act as messengers, heralds, bailiffs, and 
police, and, at a pinch, as executioners. A King's Onse is 
called an Ilari, whence the proverb, "As no subject, however 
rich, may have an Ilari, so it is not every man who may own 
a palace." 

Respect to the Kings and Chiefs is shown by prostration, 
followed by rising and clapping the hands. Before entering 
the presence of a King or Chief, the cloth is removed from the 
shoulder, over which it is usually worn, and wrapped round 
the waist. When a new title is conferred on a man a leaf of 
the Akoko tree is given to the recipient as a sign of honour. All 
officers of state, members of council, and town-Bales have 
Ekejis, " seconds," who assist in the management of affairs 
and rule in the absence of their principals. The King also has 
an Ekeji, and it is he who is usually selected to succeed him." 

The Yoruba chiefs used to employ many hunters, or 
gun-men, who acted as their bodyguards and did police work. 
Now their only duty is connected with Shongo worship. On the 
festival celebrating the cutting of the first yam they all come in 
to headquarters and fire off their guns at stated intervals, the chief 
in return giving them a feast. They are employed at Offa, and 
also by the Nupe Nda Pottaw at Share, where they number 
130. Zumbufu employs fifteen. 

The Ogboni is a religious council of great influence amongst 
some of the Southern Yoruba, but its existence is now denied 
(probably falsely) by the Yoruba of Ilorin. It is undoubtedly 
a force amongst the Ekiti and in Yagba, though the head- 
quarters of the latter is in Southern Nigeria at Ayede. 

By Yoruban law, both before and after the Filane occupation, 
all cases were heard by the village-head and chieftains, in the 
presence of the public. The most important of the Elders 
would cross-question the prisoner and witnesses, and the village- 
head gave judgment. In the case of fines half the amount went 
to the Court, half to the aggrieved family. 

Murder by a man was punishable by the payment of goods 
equivalent to 12 ios., or by decapitation. In the latter case 
the criminal was brought to the market place, and there stunned 
by some heavy irons called " uduro," his head was then cut off, 
and, together with the body, was exposed for twenty-four hours. 
Next day he was buried, naked, at the place of execution. 

A murderess was likewise fined 12 ios., or, as a woman 
might not be killed, was imprisoned for one year. 

The punishment for theft was more severe, being decapitation 
(as above), which in no case could be bought off by payment of 
a fine. If a woman stole, her husband took her back to her 
father, who took her to the Chief, who had her flogged and put 


in prison for two or three days, after which she returned to her 
husband. If she had been convicted five times she was put 
in prison for two or three years. A man caught at the time 
of committing adultery was liable to be put to death, but if he 
escaped for a while, the punishment was commuted to a very 
heavy fine, or imprisonment for a term varying from five months 
to one year. A woman was put in prison for one year, where 
she was given very hard work. 

Land was granted by the chiefs to natives and their heirs, 
who retained the right of occupancy so long only as it was 
cultivated. The right of occupancy could be sub-granted, but 
the land could never be sold. Forest products went with the 
land, except for kola and oil-palm trees, whi